Symphony No. 3

Symphony No. 3 was written in memory of my father, who passed away two years ago. It is a one-movement work containing several sections of contrasting character. I composed this symphony using multiple simultaneous structures, including three primary melodic structural elements and textural materials. In conceiving the themes and structures of ​​my Symphony No. 3, I first composed the three melodic materials, which together symbolize my complex feelings about missing my father. The intensely dramatic middle sections depict the time that I and other family members flew back to Taiwan to be with him during his treatment. This process was a precious journey for my family, during which we encountered sadness and depression. The three primary ideas are linked to three recurring melodic themes: the triplet pattern by woodwinds (doubled by piano), the long lyric contour by the strings, and the lively repetitive 16th-note rhythm. Throughout the composition, these three thematic materials are juxtaposed, intertwined, and interlaced with one other. Those sixteenth-note figures function as decoration interwoven with the other two themes. In the middle sections, I also added new pitch material inspired by the Taiwanese folksong, Gao Shan Qing (高山青, or The Green, High Mountain). Finally, the music of the last section turns to a more peaceful mood, in which I depict my family's gratitude for the time we spent together. In sum, Symphony No. 3 makes ample use of three primary materials, to create rhythmic vitality, complex textures, multiple melodic contours, and dramatic dynamic changes, all taking place concurrently.

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ACO Performances

21st Underwood New Music Readings (2012)

June 1, 2012 8:00 am
Miller Theater at Columbia University

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