Our regular listen to and look at living, breathing composers and performers that you may not know yet, but I know you should… And can, right here and now, with so much good listening online:
Fuhong SHI (b. 1976 — China / Canada)
Official blurb: “A native of Shenyang, Fuhong learned to play the piano at the age of eight, and began to study composition at fourteen. She graduated from the music school affiliated with the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 1995, where she received the highest entrance exam score on the National Examinations for admission to the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing. At the CCOM she studied composition with Jianping TANG, and received a Bachelor’s degree in composition in 2000. She then earned a Master’s degree in composition under the direction of John Celona and Dániel Péter Biró at the University of Victoria in 2005. In the fall 2005, she began her doctoral studies with Gary Kulesha at the University of Toronto.”
Fuhong’s all-flash site has a built-in player that allows you to hear a number of her excellent pieces, from 1998 all the way up to this year. Her music is very beautiful, but never “pretty”; whether quiet or full-bore, there’s always a feeling of something tense and alert.
Larry Matthew Gaab (b.1950 — US, CA)
Them thar hills are alive with composers!… Like Larry Gaab out in the “wilds” of Chico, California (O.K., more valley than hill, but what the hey): family and marital counselor by day, experimental electroacoustic musician by any-other-time. Spare with biographical and other details, about all he’ll tell you is that he “blends treated acoustic sources and electronic instruments into works which are in part composed and in part improvised. The electronic instruments are invented and played live by various extended techniques.”
What he doesn’t mention is that he creates a kind of electronic music that has an intensely “orchestrated” feel. Even in the sounds that might seem simple, there’s a spirit of un-compromise in how he unfolds a piece, that can’t help but catch my ear. Larry recently switched to a new site; where there were once many full-length recordings to be heard, there are now a couple long segments and some shorter excerpts. Here’s hoping that the collection of listening regrows over time. If you’re intrigued, drop him a line and I’m sure he’d be able to send some complete works your way.