A feature in Musicworks, premieres, and a new music release!

It always takes some time before I post updates about what’s currently on right now. Things have been rather hectic since the past 9-10 months, and this is quite unprecedented in my composer life. I guess change is happening—I think of writer Eva Hoffman who, upon having culture shock over the Krakow she knew decades ago when she visited 30 years after, decided that she had to change her personal exilic narrative. I find myself in a similar situation now. My story has evolved since I first thought about where my place is.

Might as well get on to it then:

  • Hanggang sa Takipsilim release by Ravello Records

    Ravello Records (under PARMA Recordings) releases my electroacoustic track Hanggang sa Takipsilim (Until Dusk) in the new “Mind & Machine, Vol. 4” compilation album. Lauded by critics as “interesting and captivating” (Cinemusical), the MIND & MACHINE series from Ravello Records returns in its fourth installment with a fresh roster of today’s electro-acoustic composers. I’m very privileged to have my new track come out in this interesting compilation, available in digital streaming platforms on July 22. Click HERE to listen! More info HERE in the Ravello Records catalog page.

    Hanggang sa Takipsilim is no politically neutral snippet. Adapting an excerpt from Hannah Leah Guanlao’s theatrical work “Choose Your Own Perspective,” this work transforms Guanlao’s recorded reading into spliced, glitchy artifacts of Martial Law atrocities throughout the 1970s-1980s—now confronted once again in present-day Philippine society under historical denialism and distortion. Additional recordings of Philippine indigenous instruments by Jayson Palolan mold a discourse of sound into retelling past histories. Giulia Biasibetti’s photograph of Marc Didou’s sculpture “Échos” spurred its creation in 2018 for “Sound Photography,” a project by Cities and Memory.
  • Premiere of A Study in Exile III: Home is not a place on a map in Anthropic Traces

    This four-year collaborative work is finally seeing the light of day! With Inuk/Mi’kmaw contemporary dance artist/choreographer Amy Hull, circus artist/choreographer Rebecca Leonard, and the Thin Edge New Music Collective, A Study in Exile III will have its premiere presentation at “Anthropic Traces” from July 28 to July 31 (with a preview on July 27) at Crow’s Theatre, Toronto.

    Anthropic Traces, produced by Balancing on the Edge in association with A Girl in the Sky Productions and Thin Edge New Music Collective, is a large-scale production fusing contemporary music, circus, dance, theatre, mask and multimedia. In our current epoch, Anthropocene, we see the traces of human existence leaving an indelible mark in the history of the earth. “Anthropic Traces” showcases four original collaborative works whose artistic trajectory reflects on global issues affecting the current  human condition. Bound together by the threads of human impact, each piece is unique in artistic approach and topic. Anthropic Traces features ten physical performers using experimental and traditional circus disciplines including hair hang, contortion, juggling, aerial plastic, and invented apparatus paired with live performances of fresh and compelling compositions by trailblazing Canadian composers. This production is generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. You can read more information HERE.

    Get your show tickets HERE! I’ll see you there, maybe? 😛

    Few sneak peeks below from our rehearsals last March with Amy Hull, Rebecca Leonard, and TENMC.
  • The Spatial Sonic Designs of Juro Kim Feliz now published at Musicworks!

    Rachel Evangeline Chiong reached out to interview me last November 2021 for a magazine feature. The article is finally out in the Winter 2022 issue of Musicworks, which you can read online HERE. Along with the article, my alto flute piece Ni ici, ni là-bas (Neither Here Nor There) is published in the CD accompanying the magazine issue. The work is recorded in studio by Montreal-based flutist Marilène Provencher-Leduc back in August 2017, with Takuto Fukuda on the recording helm at McGill University. Buy a magazine copy and have a listen!

    I absolutely love some of the quotes. Here are a few:

Here in Canada, he was leveraging his status as an outsider on the inside, while caught in a cultural juxtaposition. Feliz is no stranger to juxtapositions, which he uses often in his works with childlike delight. His music thrives in the sustained tension, like the kinetic energy emanating from the corners of a frame, the opposing forces holding up a house…

Yet while Feliz and I spoke, touring around the tangents of his mind, it became apparent that the structures of music are not his priority, but rather the spaces between their walls. This theme seemed to reside in Feliz’s subconsciousness…and figuratively poses the question, “Do you know your place?” Knowing your place, finding your home, and searching for a space to explore yourself are all themes that haunt listeners and, specifically, Filipino immigrants, who are on a continuous nomadic journey across the landscape.

Rachel Evangeline Chiong, Musicworks 141 (Winter 2022)
  • Premiere of Kinalugarán at New Music Concerts

    My newest work Kinalugarán finally had its premiere at New Music Concerts’ Future Resonance Festival last April 30th. Many people showed up (including some of my piano students, which is heart-warming), and everyone got to hear the stories told by Ramon Alfonso Soberano, Marie-Luise Calvero, and Riley Palanca as flutists create tapestries of live sound. The Ontario Arts Council funded the creation of this work, and it was a very tedious 7-month journey leading to its completion. I find myself taking in a new direction of incorporating documentary and/or storytelling in my contemporary music work—admittedly, my stints as a radio producer back at my McGill years are now blossoming into a new artistic practice that I can own up to. Unlike the usual approaches however, I want to tell stories to create music. Not the other way around, which many programmatic music does. Different ontology.

    You can listen to the recorded premiere of Kinalugarán below. There are future plans regarding this work as well, so keep those eyes and ears open.
  • Premiere of Weekend Rain at Cities and Memory

    Shortwave radio has long been an intriguing thing for me. Since signing up for the project, I delved a little more into the medium. I finally got a shortwave receiver and have done my own DXing—even sending a signal reception report and getting a QSL card from the National Research Council Canada!

    But not straying any further, my new electroacoustic work Weekend Rain had its premiere presentation at “Shortwave Transmission” by Cities and Memory on February 13th…on World Radio Day, nonetheless! Check out the project HERE—type “Hirohito” on the search bar to find my track. Radio NHK (Japan) broadcasted news of the Emperor Hirohito’s death in 1989, which became the departure point for this work. An excerpt of my program notes follows below:

“Weekend Rain” reimagines the sounds of rain, contained within recurring cyclical structures that expand in duration over time. Recordings of musical instruments—namely the piano and Japanese koto—and found objects diffuse a canvas of raining sounds as the Radio NHK broadcast interweaves with excerpts of haiku poetry I wrote in 2020 that bore the same title. While context bears no relation to the historical event during its writing, the poetry creates a unique narrative as it now forcibly responds to the broadcast: ‘Someone drops a grain of salt; Massive ocean waves jolt crowds awake! Wide-eyed stray cats rejoice.’ A Spanish numbers station broadcast I randomly recorded (07:55 UTC, October 4th of 2021 at 9065kHz) joins this poetic garb of symbolism, alluding to encryption and secrecy of intelligence communications underneath public access of information with press and media broadcasts. This work catches a small glimpse of worlds inhabiting shortwave radio, while reflecting on the impact of Japan’s past and continuing involvement in global affairs.

Weekend Rain, program notes (2021)

Bonus: This is the QSL card I got from the NRC after sending that QSL report. 😛

  • Panel talk / conference presentation

    I try as well not to just create music as is. I presented a paper called “Nomadic Sound Worlds: towards the transitory and the migratory” in Diasporic Solidarities on June 9th. Hosted by McMaster University (Department of English and Cultural Studies), “Diasporic Solidarities: Islands, Intimacies, and Imagining Otherwise” is a conference offering opportunities to consider how we might we move, imagine, and struggle across (de)colonial experiences and diasporic intimacies in-and-through solidarities. If you have been following my work in the past years, you can tell that my paper is an offshoot from my Nomadic Sound Worlds miniseries under the Canadian Music Centre Library Residency in 2018-2019.

    I also took part as an online panel member of “Lost in Translation? When instruments and music are taken out of their cultural contexts,” a panel talk offering by the Evergreen Gamelan Symposium and the Canadian Music Centre. Other panelists include ethnomusicologist Leslie Tilley, composer Iwan Gunawan, ethnomusicologist Curtis Andrews, and our moderator/arts consultant Menon Dworka. You can watch the online panel below.


I’ll see you all in the next update. There’s definitely more coming out this year, and I can’t wait to write about it.