Aftertouch (2021) for flute, piccolo, bass flute, contrabass flute, electronics and video
density 2036: part viii
Aftertouch is a MIDI keyboard parameter that senses the pressure applied to a key after it has been initially played. In this way, the volume, vibrato, or a filter can be manipulated and controlled for expressive ends.
Inspired by Claire Chase’s individualistic, virtuosic and kaleidoscopic playing, this work experiments with the boundless timbres she generates through gesture-based sound sculpting, improvisation, and the full spectrum of flute techniques, in dialogue with overlapping electronic beats. It grooves along simultaneously with artist Polly Apfelbaum’s floor projection of spinning singing bowls. Special thanks to electronics assistant Russell Greenberg.
Composer and pianist Wang Lu writes music that reflects natural influences from urban environmental sounds, linguistic intonation and contours, traditional Chinese music, and freely improvised traditions through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities.
She is an Associate Professor of Music at Brown University, after receiving her doctoral degree in composition at Columbia University and graduating from the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. Wang Lu’s works have been performed internationally by ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNOW, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, American Composers Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Holland Symfonia, Ensemble Recherche, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Musiques Nouvelles, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Dal Niente, Third Sound, Yarn/Wire, The Crossing Choir, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Argento, Aizuri Quartet, New York Virtuoso Singers, Momenta Quartet, violinists Miranda Cuckson, Jennifer Koh, and pianist Shai Wosner, among others.
A 2020 recipient of the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond award from American Academy of Arts and Letters, Wang Lu has also received the Berlin Prize in Music Composition (spring 2019 residency) and was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and she has received commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress and the Fromm Foundation at Harvard. Wang Lu was the Vanguard Opera Composer in Residence with the Chicago Opera Theater and her chamber opera, The Beekeeper, premiered in 2022. Of her portrait album Urban Inventory, released in March 2018, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker: “I’ve listened at least a dozen times to the composer Wang Lu’s new album, Urban Inventory (New Focus Recordings), and remain happily lost in its riotous maze of ideas and images.”