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Work of the Week – Lei Liang: Lakescape VI

On July 25, the world premiere of Lei Liang’s Lakescape VI for woodwind quintet will be performed at the Bennington Chamber Music Conference. The piece was commissioned by the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East.

Liang describes the inspiration behind his series of “Lakescape” works:

“Having been interested in Mahayana Buddhism for a number of years, I went to a Buddhist monastery in upstate New York to study meditation in 1999. One evening, while walking alone by the side of the lake, I caught the sight of a “V” shape floating and extending on the surface of the water. It was a beaver taking a swim under the moon. This image gave me insight into my relationship with silence: underneath the music is a profoundly deep silence upon which I seek to inscribe my signature through sound.  It serves as a point of departure that led to a series of works.”

Lei Liang – Lakescape VI: Images through music

Liang’s focus on vividly depicting visual images through music is not new. Last April, his exquisite and profound orchestral work, A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams received its world premiere by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, led by Gil Rose. Inspired by the writings and paintings of Huang Binhong (1865-1955), this piece traces the artist’s creation of a magnificent landscape painting. He illuminates the journey:

“A landscape emerges out of darkness, illuminated by an artist’s inner vision; distant contours, shapes, hints of color, and emptiness. As the viewer draws closer and closer to the landscape, lines and human presence begin to emerge, sounds to resonate, until we become one with each of its brush-strokes and ink splashes, with its every breath. The mountains are breathing, singing and roaring. The landscape vibrates, pulsates and dances; it takes flight; it stirs, swells, rises, grinds, surges, stretches and blooms; trembling, jolting, and collapsing, it breaks into fragments. … Rain – drops and drops of rain – returns, to heal the landscape in ruin. A prayer, a resurrection, the rain brings life back to the landscapes, and it regains its gentle heartbeat. A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams is a musical landscape that I painted with a sonic brush.”- Lei Liang

In addition to the world premiere of Lakescape VI, the Flux Quartet performs the world premiere of vis-à-vis on August 14 at Conrad Prebys Concert Hall in La Jolla, California for the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest. On August 9, the same ensemble will perform Liang’s Serashi Fragments in La Jolla. Liang serves​ as composer-in-residence at the Valencia International Performance Academy & Festival in Spain on July 10-20, the Bennington Chamber Music Conference from July 22-28, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival, taking place July 29-Aug 3.


©Foto Howard Lipin