The experience of navigating deeply held cultural values in the process of composing a new piece was transformative. I realized not only that working with traditional musicians was a culturally sensitive process but that, in order to achieve true “confluence,” I must develop my own knowledge of their living tradition and cultural heritage. I also learned the value of developing strong relationships with the musicians. With their trust, I might inspire them to reach outside of their comfort zones to attempt something new and innovative. After establishing such mutual respect, I believe that the composer and performers can simultaneously share both a reverence for the tradition and an excitement for new possibilities inherent within the tradition.
In January of 2009, I began a two-month residency at Burapha University in Bangsaen, Thailand, funded by the Asian Cultural Council in New York City. My idea of worldscape through living composition was born here. During this time, I composed Unspoken Voices–Unbroken Spirits for Thai classical music singers and piphat ensemble, performed by the faculty and students at Burapha University.
Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia is a peer-reviewed journal published twice a year by the School of Humanities of the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Multidisciplinary in scope, it welcomes articles in English or Filipino in the following fields: literature, philosophy, theology, performance arts, visual arts, forms of media and other related areas, especially studies engaging Philippine and Asian experience.