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Diversity, Divergence, and Directions

Plenary Speaker
23 August 2022
10:00 - 10:30 hrs (GMT+7)

In recent years, cross-cultural collaborations have become more common, and still are important junctions between artists of different cultures. Exciting things happen. But, there are areas which need more attention in order to reach higher (or deeper) levels of art-making.


I will describe three of my compositions which use traditional and non-traditional (modern?) features: “Life…Elegante,” a structured improvisation for four singing dancers; “In Pelog,” a process-oriented gamelan composition; and “Siddhartha,” a major dance-theater production involving artists of noh, Java, Bali, bharata natyam, and makyong. All involve traditionally-trained dancers and musicians working on non-traditional contemporary-oriented works.


I am always looking for interesting combinations of sounds of the world, whether music of a culture or “noise” in the industrial world. In this talk, I discuss not the cultural, anthropologic or ethnomusicologic aspects of my work, but the diverse elements of sounds directly, and therefore, the diversity of culture, especially in Asia, and how I work with them as a composer and performer.


I will show, with many video and audio examples, the three compositions listed above which illustrate my inter-cultural approach. In working with the diversity of the world’s vast sounds, with its concomitant and ethnic cultures, there will certainly be divergences of one style with or against another one. My goal is to give some directions which may help other composers and performers to engage in this floating environment.


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