In this podcast, Genny and I discuss teaching and performing. Watch to find out more!
“The Dimensions Dance” is a piece for orchestra I wrote in 2021. I was heavily influenced by black and white/film noir soundtracks and many others (especially Bernard Herrmann, David Raksin, Jerry Goldsmith, Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Lisa Gerrard, Frank Zappa, Ligeti, John Carpenter, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Muddy Waters, etc.). Enjoy! *Contact me if you would like to purchase the full score: feonalee[at]gmail.com
Program Notes: I composed Ancestors in 2021 for Rachel Boehl’s 2021 MM graduation recital at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. This commission was an opportunity to write for solo French Horn and delay pedal, and experiment with the sonic possibilities of the two elements. This piece is a tribute to our ancestors, whose histories are imprinted on us and teach us that we come from a long lineage of survivors. The structural sections of the work are a time and space traveling device that transports us across the world. For example, the use of multiphonics, where the player is singing into the horn while simultaneously playing a note, is reminiscent of the archaic ritual horn music of Tibet. Another example is of the whistling portamento in both the voice and horn, suggestive of the whistling languages of South Africa. This piece communicates how we are all connected to our ancestors. When we embrace, connect, dialogue with, and see ourselves as part of a greater familial and spiritual field of energy, we see the ancient wisdom that is deep within each of us. Even if we did not know our ancestors, we are connected to forces we may not understand. An essential part of our healing is connecting more deeply to our families of origin and challenging our familial stories, patterns, and beliefs. The music represents the dialogue with our ancestors and reconnecting with their DNA that resides deep within each of us. The French Horn and delay pedal combination enabled me to create the sound of an ensemble with just one instrument. With the delay pedal, I could create ripples of sound cascading onto itself, drone-like repeated notes and rhythms, canons layered upon each other, and delayed melodic and rhythmic gestures. I also discovered I could manipulate space and time by making some sounds sound closer or farther away. Ultimately, Ancestors is about telling one story about our connection to the past and how it has shaped us. It is about creating a dialogue with the greater familial and spiritual field of energy around us. We are biological storehouses––each are a result of our own unique lineage. By giving a voice to our ancestors’ panoramic, multidimensional view and letting their stories and voices be heard, we can embrace our families of origin and even challenge their paradigms and beliefs if they are no longer relevant. We are all cultural hybrids who have unique outlooks, and I want to honor our multicultural views and bring them to light since we are connected, all sharing this human existence on earth.
I created a video statement for 208 Ensemble’s call for Scores from underrepresented composers. In this video I share a little about myself, how I got started as a pianist and composer, my work as a composer, as well as a few things most people wouldn’t normally know about me.
208 Ensemble is proud to introduce Avant-Garden, our flagship project designed to cultivate an accessible, collaborative environment for the performance of contemporary art and commission chamber music annually from emerging and
Over the summer, I traveled to Finland with a couple of friends for the Savonlinna Opera Festival, which was incredible. For the Finns, music is as important as eating, drinking, and going to the sauna. Basically music is a BIG deal there. More operas are premiered in Finland than any other country in the world. House concerts were common and the musicians were the best I’ve heard.
The photo below was taken at the Gulf of Bothnia around 11pm. We were above the Arctic Circle so the sun set only for a few hours before rising again. It was like this my entire trip!
The second part of my trip was in Isafjordur, Iceland where I stayed for a composer residency where I worked on my opera. I got to spend all day at the piano at the music school. It was unbelievable how I could concentrate so deeply. There was no static like there is here in the USA (so many wifi signals destroying brain cells). In Iceland I had limited access to wifi and internet, which helped me be fully immersed in composing. There was also 23 hours of daylight. I found that I did not need much sleep. I would go to bed between 2am-4am and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to begin my day. I did this for several weeks and never felt burnt out. It was vacation. I felt I was able to access a deeper realm of consciousness there, that I have not been able to access in everyday life. It was definitely an experience I will never forget. So many beautiful memories and beautiful sightings were experienced. There is nothing else quite like Iceland.