Deluge (World Premiere, LAPA commission)
Fang Man’s music has been performed worldwide by various orchestras and ensembles, including the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lorraine, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Festival Chamber Orchestra, and the Music From China Ensemble, among others. She was chosen to participate IRCAM’s one-year computer music program between 2006 and 2007, where her new work Ambush From Ten Sides for Guitar and Live Electronics was premiered at Espace de Projection IRCAM – Centre Pompidou on October 6, 2007. She received a commission from the American Composers Orchestra for a Clarinet Concerto with live electronics, which was premiered under the baton of George Manahan at Zankel Hall in February 2009. Additional credits include invitations to the Gaudeamus Music week (Netherlands), Centre Acanthes (France), the June in Buffalo Festival, the Bowdoin Summer Festival, and the Cabrillo Festival of New Music.
Born in China, Fang Man is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University, where her primary teachers are Steven Stucky and Roberto Sierra. She has also studied with composers such as Samuel Adler, Qigang Chen, George Crumb, Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Pascal Dusapin, David Felder, Du Ming-xin, Brian Ferneyhough, Mauro Lanza, Mikhail Malt, Yan Marez, Tristan Murail, Aaron Jay Kernis, Wolfgang Rihm, Alessando Solbiati, Richard Toensing, Michael Theodore, and Ye Xiao-gang.
The composer provided the following note:
Deluge adopted the title of Kandinsky’s painting Composition VI-Deluge and was inspired by the color, form, and expression of the painting. According to Kandinsky, “in this picture one can see two centers: On the left, the delicate, rosy, somewhat blurred center, with weak, indefinite lines in the middle; on the right (somewhat higher than the left). the crude, red-blue, rather discordant area, with sharp, rather evil, strong, very precise lines. Between these two centers is a third (nearer to the left), which one only recognizes subsequently as being a center, but is, in the end, the principal center.” The structure of the music is based on this form, where the third section of the piece serves as the main movement, transforming an ancient Gu Qin piece “Flowing Water” to be played by the harp.
As the title Deluge suggests, it associates with water and disasters. The great Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu expressed his view of water in Tao Te Ching, a Chinese classic text:
Nothing in the world is weaker than water
but against the hard and strong
nothing excels it
for nothing can change it
the soft overcomes the hard
the weak overcomes the strong
this is something everyone knows
but no one is able to practice
thus the sage declares
who accepts a country's disgrace
we call the lord of soil and grain
who accepts a country's misfortune
we call the king of all under Heaven
upright words sound upside down
(translated by Bill Porter)
Since last year, I've been thinking about what is the true meaning of being an artist and how could my works to be more helpful and valuable to the actual world. I changed my attitude ever since, and eager to observe and be inspired by what is happening in the real world. I’d like to dedicate the piece to Esa-Pekka Salonen, and my teacher Steven Stucky for his 60th birthday. And I feel grateful for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association for commissioning the piece. The live electronics is created with the tools designed by sound engineer Alexis Baskind.