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67

Baldwin Giang, Ensemble Garage & Friends

Scenes from the Post-Diaspora

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Duration 70 minutes
Music

Synopsis

Post-globalization identity and hybridity in urban environments have shaped the personal background of Baldwin Giang, composer and pianist-in-residence at Mahler & LeWitt Studios.

‍Scenesfrom the Post-Diaspora explores these themes and develops them in a multi-movement multimediaopera where Giang's music, masterfully interpreted by the German Ensemble Garage together with artists from from Taiwan, Vietnam, the Netherlands and Italy, is accompanied from by footage made in urban environments that have marked the composer's personal journey.

"For the movement set to Rome"- Giang comments-"I am working with Italian video artist Andrea Bancone. We are interested to how queerness and migration intersect with the palimpsestic nature of Roman city life: just as Rome is built on many layers of history, which are often submerged but can emerge in ruptures of historical time in unexpected places in the city, queerness is largely invisible but is made visible during opportune flashes and clandestine encounters. Immigrants also rise and fall in the social imaginary of contemporary Rome. I am interested to how this constellation of ideas can suggest new approaches to the revelation and layering of musical material, the unfolding of musical time, and to a nonlinear perspective on the future."

Baldwin Giang is an internationally renowned composer, pianist, interdisciplinary creator and educator whose music engages the energies of the audience and artist community and creates concert experiences that are opportunities for wonder and collective judgment. He won the Samuel Barber Rome Prize and is a resident at the American Academy in Rome for 2023/2024.

Credits

Program

Ensemble Garage

Carlos Cordeiro clarinet/bass clarinet

Malgorzata Walentynowicz piano/keyboard

Yuka Ohta percussion

Steffen Ahrens guitar

with

Laura Faoro flute

Rada Ocharova violin

Jacob Schafer violin

Emlyn Stam purple

James Morley cello

Yun-han Su pipe

‍EliasPeter Brown director.

music Baldwin Giang

Spoleto production Festival dei Due Mondi

presented from American Academy in Rome and Mahler & LeWitt Studios

in collaboration with Fondazione Carla Fendi

Please be advised that dates and times may be subject to change.
See www.festivaldispoleto.com for updates.

Hall Program

download pdf

It is a great honor to be featured at Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto in a concert-portrait dedicated to my work. Tonight you will hear three recent works, including a world premiere, masterfully performed by my dear friends from Ensemble Garage and guest artists.

Texts by Baldwin Giang

__

Scenes from the Post-Diaspora‍

for ensemble and video‍

premiere

flute Laura Faoro

clarinet Carlos Cordeiro

pipe Yun-han Su

keyboard Malgorzata Walentynowicz

percussionists Yuka Ohta

violin Rada Ocharova

violin Jacob Schafer

purple Emlyn Stam

cello James Morley

director Elias Peter Brown‍

Scenes from the Post-Diaspora chronicles the places where I have lived, where identity must always be interpreted and negotiated, and critically imagines what it might mean in the future to belong to a diaspora. The concept of "post-diaspora" comes from the writings of theorist Shu-mei Shih, who argues that, given the widespread, post-generational migration of peoples away from their ancestral homelands, "diaspora should have an end... to anyone should be given the chance to become local." While remaining agnostic about whether a utopian "post-diaspora" can or should happen, I am interested to in investigating the conditions of space and time that might make a subject feel visible and accepted in his or her cultural difference, regardless of whether he or she belongs to to a majority or minority community. One could say that I am looking for and imagining the tracks of "post-diaspora" in the present.

The artistic research behind this project was simple: I filmed myself carrying the signs of my identity, the pipe (a traditional Chinese lute) and the đàn nguyệt (a traditional Vietnamese lute), while interacting with urban environments with which I have a personal connection. I then wrote the music in response to the effects generated by the interaction between my identity, the environment, and the video medium. Finally, I edited and ordered the video into a non-narrative syntax, but closely integrated with the music.

The first scene takes place to Philadelphia, where I was born. Made in collaboration with Philadelphia filmmaker Brian Erickson, the video investigates the politicization of the boundaries of the U.S. city's Chinatown. to in the face of a long history of political organizing from part of the community, Philadelphia's municipal leaders have disrupted the urban geography of Chinatown by installing a highway that bisects the neighborhood and threatening to build a prison and basketball stadium on its fringes. In my work, the relationship between video and music explores the barriers that constitute the identity of the neighborhood and playfully subverts the rigidity of these boundaries.

The second scene-a video made in collaboration with Taiwanese director Chris Kang-is about Ximending, a flashy neon-covered Taipei shopping district that fuses Asian and Western consumerism. I lived in this neighborhood for a year and was interested in understanding how it embodied a drunken and evasive optimism about the future, but also the signs of capitalism's excess. Filmed to late at night after the tourist hordes have left, in their absence we hear only the tracks of a globalized audience.

The last scene, made in collaboration with Italian director Andrea Bancone and Italian actor Gabriele Lepera, reflects on the porosity of place, identity and history in Rome's gay cruising venues. Filmed to Villa Gordani, a beautiful park with ancient ruins that at night becomes a cruising hangout for Rome's diverse queer immigrant communities from the far east, as well as to Settimo Cielo to Ostia, we investigate the way queerness and migration intersect with the palimpsestic nature of city life to Rome. to unlike Philadelphia, boundaries are fluid and encroachments are frequent and discreet. Identity is multimodal and through the interaction of different media we aim to at an aesthetic that can contain its vast multiplicity.

__

songs after sufjan‍

for violin, cello and piano (double keyboard)

Italian premiere


I. I should have known better

II. so/that

III. to be alone with you

violin Rada Ocharova

cello James Morley

piano, keyboard Malgorzata Walentynowicz‍

‍songsafter sufjan is, in part, a tribute to singer/songwriter/composer Sufjan Stevens. My piece for piano trio makes use of some of the musical material from Stevens' songs, such as the transposition of their carefully orchestrated pop production into dreamlike microtonal harmony and extended techniques, as a means of evoking both the intimacy and delicate affection of Stevens' sound worlds. Moreover, the ghosts of Stevens' lyrics, recontextualized in relation to my music, serve as a starting point for the unique emotional arc of my work.

The first movement, I Should Have Known Better, is a reference to the song Should Have Known Better from Stevens' 2015 album Carrie and Lowell. Stevens' lyrics deal with her grief over the death of her mother and the conflicted nature of their relationship, before an unexpected turn toward the light that her newborn granddaughter brings into her life. My work, inspired by the dramatic nature of the texts, juxtaposes strongly contrasting materials based on chromaticism and just intonation. The second movement, so/than, is a study of ambiguity. It functions both as an interlude between movements I and III and as the emotional centerpiece of the entire opera. The title of the third movement, to be alone with you, is a reference to Stevens' song of the same name; I found the song's lyrics-which express the necessary self-sacrifice to be from alone with someone and with God-especially pertinent at a time when I was making difficult choices in my personal life during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these times, choosing to be from alone with someone brings comfort and risk, companionship and embarrassment.

songs after sufjan is dedicated to my mother, Cam Ly, who died of cancer in November 2020 while I was composing the song.

__

my axe, my gun...my wayward son‍

for four musicians‍

Italian premiere‍

I. my axe

II. my gun

III. ... my wayward son

bass clarinet, keytar Carlos Cordeiro

keyboard, keytar Malgorzata Walentynowicz

percussion Yuka Ohta

electric guitar, bass Steffen Ahrens‍

my axe, my gun... my wayward son, written to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam War memorial, opens on a web of metaphors that relate instrumental music to violence and self-expression in Western music. The virtuosic swinging of electric guitarists (and saxophonists) during solos generated the American slang for "axe" to refer to the guitar. Since the birth of the European orchestra in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, commentators have likened the orchestra to an army and the coordinated raising of violin bows to the "raising of muskets." my wayward son questions how this unique instrumentation and its improvisational talent can establish a series of relationships with the performer that derive from deeply rooted metaphors in Western music, from an instrument as a weapon to an instrument as a vehicle for imaginative wandering.

download pdf

Dates & Tickets

Tickets: 20 €
TICKETING INFO
Sat
29
Jun
2024
at
21:00
Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
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Pegasus Hall
Event Times
June 28
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
June 29
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
June 30
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
01 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:15
14:15
15:30
16:30
17:45
20:30
21:30
02 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:15
14:15
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
21:45
04 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
05 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
06 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
07 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
08 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
20:45
21:45
09 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
21:45

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Biographies

Baldwin Giang

He recently completed a Fulbright Artist Fellowship in 2022-2023 to Taiwan and was named resident composer with the Louisville Orchestra in 2024-2025. He was nominated/finalist for the 2022 Gaudeamus Award, the most prestigious international award for composers under the age of 35. His music has been performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center, and the Chateau de Fontainebleau. He has received commissions from the National Sawdust Ensemble, Metropolis Ensemble, New York Youth Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Loadbang, Playground Ensemble, Grossman Ensemble, Fondation Maurice Ravel, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Robert Black Foundation, Music in Bloom, How It's Musically Made, and Music from Copland House.

National and international festivals that have presented his work include IRCAM's Manifeste (France), Ecoles d'arts Americaines de Fontainebleau (France), Concours International de Piano d'Orleans (France), Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Netherlands), 24th Annual Young Composers' Meeting (Netherlands), Valencia International Performance Academy (Spain), highSCORE (Italy), Contrasti Festival (Italy), Aspen Music Festival, Edward T. Cone Institute of the New Jersey Symphony to Princeton, Yale in Norfolk's New Music Workshop, CULTIVATE at Copland House, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Albany Symphony's American Music Festival, Bang on to Can Summer Music Festival, June in Buffalo, New Music on the Point, NUNC!3, National Sawdust's Digital Discovery Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, Midwest Graduate Music Consortium , Midwest Composers Symposium, SCI National Student Conference, North American Saxophone Association Conference and NSEME. Baldwin graduated from Yale University and earned a B.to. with honors in both music and political science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, earning an M.to. as a Regents Fellow. Baldwin is currently a doctoral student and member of the Division of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where he studies with Augusta Read Thomas, Sam Pluta, Anthony Cheung, Hans Thomalla, Courtney Bryan and Felipe Lara.

Ensemble Garage

Ensemble Garage was founded in 2009. Its ten members are constantly seeking answers on artistic, social and aesthetic questions that define our time. In doing so, the Ensemble explores methods and means to create realms ("ways," "spheres," "realms"?) of expression through contemporary composition.

Since its founding, the ensemble has been producing innovative artistic stimuli, shifting its focus to the reflection of the (post)-internet-society with its digital-media expressions, shaping the development of new music toward trans-media, theatrical and performative forms of production.

An important part of the ensemble's work is collaboration and exchange with other artists, especially with composers of the new generation. For this, Ensemble Garage has organized and curated numerous concert-exchanges with young composers from from Germany, Poland, the United States, Finland, Turkey, and France, among others. In addition, the ensemble regularly collaborates with curators and guest artists from from various fields such as video (e.g. Warped Type) and dance (e.g. Mouvoir / Stephanie Thiersch). In this way it implements the "Community of Practice"-a method of artistic work in which members from different artistic fields collaboratively explore their respective practices, which can result in concrete artistic work.

Since fall 2019, Ensemble Garage has hosted the Acts 'n Sounds concert series several times a year, presenting different programmatic concepts with various topics at different venues in Cologne. It also collaborates with the concert series FRAU MUSICA NOVA, developing transmedia concerts that cross the boundaries of club-culture, experimental music theater, and performance, particularly supporting the artistic work of women.

As a guest, the ensemble performs regularly at renowned festivals in Germany and abroad, such as Acht Brücken Festival Cologne, Eclat Stuttgart, Warsaw Autumn, Musica Strasbourg, Ruhrtriennale, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Kunstfestpiele Herrenhausen, SPOR Festival Aarhus (Denmark), GAIDA Festival Vilnius (Lithuania), Warschauer Herbst, Musica Strasbourg and Mixtur Barcelona (Spain), among others.

Elias Peter Brown

He works as a conductor, composer, improviser and curator, seeking to create meaningful listening spaces inside and outside the from concert hall. He has been named a Salonen Fellow for the 2023/24 biennium, where he will be joined from Esa-Pekka Salonen and serve as assistant conductor at the San Francisco Symphony, as well as to working as an assistant conductor with the Colburn Conservatory Orchestra in the Nagaunee Conducting Program. Previously, he was assistant conductor of the Korean National Symphony Orchestra in Seoul during the 2022/23 season, a role he assumed after winning first prize and the orchestra prize in the Korean International Conducting Competition. He is currently supported as Stipendiat of the Conducting Forum of the Germany Music Council and is the recipient of a Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. He has recently worked with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Symphonieorkest Vlaanderen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, Komische Oper Orchestra, Magdeburgische Philharmonie, the Kammerakademie Potsdam, the Kammerorchester Basel, the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Teplice, the Ensemble MusikFabrik, the Zafraan Ensemble, the Ensemble New Babylon, the Spectra Ensemble and the Divertimento Ensemble. He has participated to masterclasses with David Zinman, Johannes Schlaefli, Kristiina Poska, Mark Stringer, Marin Alsop, Robert Treviño and Larry Rachleff and was chosen as a participant for Das Kritisches Orchester in 2022. His teachers have been Sian Edwards, Harry Curtis and Daniel Boico. Outside of his conducting role, he has been engaged as a music curator through the Sounds Now program at the Onassis Stegi, and his work as a composer has been performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Krama Festival in Athens, and the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius. He resides to Berlin and is a graduate of Yale University and the Royal Academy of Music, where his master's thesis, Spacing, Placing, Making Kin: Towards to Musical Curatorship, drew on literature in the field of curatorial studies to theorize and define the pedagogical, discursive, and dialogic modes of concert curatorship. Other recent work includes CAVE, a site-specific performance for the Brunel Museum based on Plato's cave myth, selected from the 2019 Prague Quadrennial, and "less than to grain of dust" a program of music spanning eight hundred years commissioned as a musical response to the groundbreaking Lumia exhibition for the Yale University Art Gallery.

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