Weekend festival highlights Asian music in America

Photo by Katie Lee.

Weekend festival highlights Asian music in America

Students, faculty and visitors alike were exposed to many types of music during the multi-day festival, Livewire 8: Asian Music in America festival, which featured guest composers P.Q  Phan and Washington Samulnori. This showcase highlighted different facets of Asian culture through the rhythmic, sporadic notes of their instruments. This is the eighth year the campus has held Livewire.

Livewire 8 is organized by the Department of Music, and was located in the Performing Arts and Humanities building. The Linehan Concert Hall and the Music Box are both ideal environments for festivals like Livewire 8. The music that was performed has cultural connections to Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and China.

Majority of the events were held in the newly named Linehan hall. Both faculty and students, along with the Rukus contemporary faculty music ensemble, got the chance to perform their pieces to an open audience. The sounds of trumpets, clarinets and violins echoed off the walls in the room.

Ten accomplished composers were the center of this festival, including Shih-Hui Chen, Kyong Mee Choi, Mandy Fang, Hitomi Kaneko, Liza Lim, Toshiro Mayuzumi, Tokuhide Niimi.

The energy on the stage was clear. All of the musicians were extremely passionate about the pieces they were performing.

Phan speaks on his inspiration for one of his pieces, Rock Blood. “At times I could hear my blood streams rocking through my veins, finding their ways inside my body.”

Music lovers from all backgrounds likely appreciate the hard work and skill it takes to learn music of a different style. For many, it was an eye-opening experience to hear the unique sounds of ancient folk and contemporary music.

Being on such a diverse campus, it should be important that all cultures are recognized. This festival did just that. The performers got the chance to use their musical instruments to voice the stories they wanted to tell.

Audience member, Chizitere Odidika, a junior communications and technology major, shared her opinion of the show. “I really felt like individually the notes were discordant, but together they meshed into a beautiful symphony of sound. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances.”

Odidika also touched on how the performances were different than what she first expected. “Once hearing the music, I realized how little I actually knew about music from Asian cultures. It was cool being able to learn something new.”

Many of the performers in attendance this weekend have traveled all over the world to share their talent. The guest composer, Phan, came to the States from Vietnam in 1982, and since then has traveled all over the country winning awards for his contemporary classical music.

The Livewire 8 festival is only one example of the many culturally diverse and inclusive events held on campus. In September, over a dozen cultural and ethnic student organizations came together to celebrate their culture with food, fashion and dance.