Yue Ming - tǔ - 土

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The Chinese word - 'tu' is often understood as soil, land, hometown, folk customs, and rustic. In this work, the term 'tu' is borrowed to metaphorically reflect the 'Emptiness philosophy' in Buddhist study, representing our creative dependent origination.

This set of work consists of four distinctive sections. I attempted to use the rustic folk customs from my hometown - crosstalk, gong and cymbal performance, folk tunes, etc. as inspirations, combined with my sympathies on these experiences and interlocked with the sonic characteristics of String Quartet. I hope to break our stereotypical thinkings on a specific culture, ideology, and artistic imagery. I hope to break our stereotypical reflections of a particular culture, ideology, and creative imagery to explore multifaceted expressions of music.

Gong Passion

Known as "汉沽飞镲" in Chinese. This is a comprehensive folk activity in Tianjin China, integrating folk music, dance, and martial arts. In this section, I attempted to use fierce bowing, Bartok pizzicatos, frequent sliding combined with the occasional body language of the performers, in order to express the exuberant, witty sound of gongs and drums in the "汉沽飞镲" activity.

A Tune that Does Not Exist

The inspiration comes from my experience on an autumn morning. I felt a faint tune from afar while wandering around my schoolyard. The question that hanging in the air whether it exists and the emptiness nature it conveys offered me unlimited space of creativity. Instead of depicting the 'emptiness' through dissolving melody and dynamics for a chaotic 'imagery,' I chose a traditional, more concrete way to fill my understandings in the 'imaginary space.' I attempted to use faint, nuanced timbre while retaining the typical Chinese melodic thinking, flowing a clear tune through the entire section and assisted with dynamic changes - a commonly used music developing technique in Chinese operas that adds tension to the music so as to recall and recreate my shadowy experiences through music.

Composer: Yue Ming

Composer photo
Photo of Yue Ming

Yue Ming (b. 1989) is a UK-based Chinese composer. Her music is born in the collision of her cross-cultural experiences between her motherland and the western world, combining her studies on Chinese folk customs, music dialects, eastern philosophies with her knowledge of Contemporary music expression.

Her music has been performed in the U.K., U.S., and Asia. Her piece for a large chamber orchestra - The Eternal Circle, has recently been awarded Third Prize in New Generation International Composition Competition (2021); She has also won the Chinese Art Fund for Young Creative Artist Scheme (2019) for her "Impression of Tianjin" project, in which she performed as both project director and composer.

During her Ph.D. research on Sanxian new music creations, she collaborated with awarded Sanxian Artist Yizhen Gao from Central Conservatory of Music and Sanxian Principal - Taisheng Zhao of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. She simultaneously enjoyed working with Jérôme Comte from ensemble "InterContemporain"; British violinist Hannah Roper; Professors Chen Yi and Zhou Long of the University of Kansas; Matt Ryan of the Royal Academy of Music; the York Chimera Ensemble; the Quatuor Diotima; and the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in cross-cultural music and dance projects.

She is also fascinated with music criticism and has published her paper - A Research on the Structure and Function of Children's Chorus in the Opera 'Madame White Snake' in the Journal of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Music Arts. Issue 4, 2015.