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)

Fuhong SHIOfficial 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)

Larry GaabThem 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.

2 thoughts on “Steve’s click picks #35”
  1. A little update — Fuhong tells me she’s just won the 2007 Karen Kieser Prize, for one of the works (Lightenings) that you can hear on her site right now:

    The 2007 winner of the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music is FUHONG SHI, for her composition Lightenings for chamber ensemble. Please join us in congratulating Fuhong for this wonderful accomplishment.

    This is the sixth year for the award. Past winners are:

    Abigail Richardson (2002)
    Andrew Staniland (2003)
    Craig Galbraith (2004)
    Katarina Curcin (2005)
    Christopher William Pierce (2006)

    The Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music was endowed in 2003 by Karen’s friends and colleagues, as a tribute to her lifelong dedication to Canadian music and musicians. This annual prize includes a cash award, a selection of CBC Records, a public performance of the work, and a subsequent national broadcast on CBC Radio. By awarding the prize to students in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, we salute Karen as a distinguished alumna of that institution. By including a selection of CBC Records and a CBC broadcast as part of the prize, we celebrate Karen’s outstanding career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Lightenings will be performed at the University of Toronto’s New Music Festival (1 February 2008, 7:30 p.m., Walter Hall) and later aired on CBC Radio II.

  2. “…she received the highest entrance exam score on the National Examinations…”

    I know hyperbole is a tradition on music sites, but my gosh, do I need to know this? And should it change how I experience the music?
    And the flash on Fuhong’s site is annoying with a capital ‘noy’. Just throw some simple mp3 links up there, I promise not to bootleg them!!

    Gaab’s music is awesome. And a straight forward website to boot.

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