Jazz Orchestra

Great River

(2019) 5′

sop. alto. tenor. tenor. bari. /4 tpt./ 3 tbn. b tbn./ pno, gt, bs, ds.

Commissioned by Anoka Ramsey Community College Jazz Band. Premiered at Minnesota Music Educators Association in 2020.

Dark Woods Where the Wolf Lives

(2018) 9′

fl., alto fl., cla., cla., b cla. 4 tpt (flug.) 3 tbn, b tbn, gt, pno, bs, ds. Soloist: tpt.2

When my daughter was obsessed about wolves that appear in her picture books, she often asked her dad “Is a wolf coming to our house?” and her dad says “No, a wolf lives in the woods. It’s really far from here.” As they repeated  several versions of this conversation, and I started to imagine the wolf that lives in the dark woods. She walks in the woods in the night looking for her prey. She sleeps alone. She is fast, strong, dignified, and beautiful. 

Composed for the Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop Annual Concert. Premiered by the Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra on July 15th, 2018 at Studio Z in St. Paul, MN.

Still Dark

(2018) 7′

s. sx/a. sx 1,  a. fl/a. sx 2, cl 1, cl 2, b.cl, 4 tpt (flug.) 3 tbn, b. tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, ds.

solos: alto sax 1, b cla.

“Still dark” is what my three-year-old used to say in the morning the last winter. For some reason it stayed with me, and also it sums up how I feel about parenting. This piece is inspired by how my daughter changes her mood quickly and extremely, and how my feeling and mood intertwine with hers. Each section loosely presents some moments of our everyday lives: my alone time in the early morning, her tantrum before going to school, our happy lazy Sunday morning with waffles, and trying to find a peace when I am upset, etc.

Composed for the Twin Cities Jazz Composer Workshop Annual Concert. Premiered by Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra on November 18th, 2018 at Studio Z in St. Paul, MN.

17 Years Dream

(2012)

vo., s.sx, a.sx, t.sx 1, t.sx 2, b.cl, 4 tpt, 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: s.sx. and tpt 3

A Wing

(2012) 9’30”

vo., fl/s.sx, a.sx, cla 1, cla 2, b.sx, 4 tpt, 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: a.sx and drs

JaJaJa

(2012)

vo., s.sx, a.sx/fl, cla 1, cla 2, b.cla/b.sx, 4 tpt (flug), 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: b.sx /s.sx

Intrapersonal Communication

(2011)

vo., s.sx., fl,  t. sx. 1 (+cl.), cl. 2, b cla., 4 tpt (flug.), 3 tbn, b tbn, gt, pno, a.b, ds.

Solo: tenor+drums

Bumblebee Garden

(2011) 8′

vo., s.sx, a.sx/fl, cla 1/t.sx 1, cla 2/t.sx 2, b.cla/b.sx, 4 tpts (flug), 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: tbn 2/vo.

It was a really hot August day in Minnesota. It was a very quiet afternoon. Possibly everyone was out at the beach or sleeping in their cool bedrooms to escape from the heat. I was sitting on the front porch with a big black cat sleeping next to me on the blazing stone ground. It was so quiet. The only sound I could hear was the faint buzzing of a few bumblebees fluttering among many pink coneflowers.

Opened Opened ”ひらいた ひらいた”

(2010) 8′

vo., s.sx, fl, t.sx, cla, b.cl, 4 tpt (flug), 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloist: b.cla

One of my recent interests is to interpret traditional Japanese children’s music through the prism of my ensemble. I re-compose these songs utilizing many of their simple motives for thematic development through the language of my harmonic and melodic concept. “Dragonfly’s Glasses” and “Opened,Opened” are two of my re-compositions of Japanese children’s songs, and they are part of the suite “Re-imaging My Childhood” which I wrote in 2009. This work was funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.

Funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.

Dark Paintings

(2009) 8′

fl 1, fl 2, cl. 1/t.sx, cl. 2/t.sx, b.cl, 4 tpt/flug, 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: tpt. 4/tbn.1 

This piece is a part of the suite is called “Homage to Rothko: Rapturous and Melancholy Colors” that I premiered in 2010 and was funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center. This suite represents my personal experience with Rothko’s works and attempts to convey his broad range of colors and moods within them. “Dark Paintings” was inspired by Rothko’s works in his late period.

Funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.

Skip

(2008) 9′

vo, s.sx (+ a.sax.+ fl), a.sx (+ fl.), t.sx. 1 (+cl.), t. sx. 2 (+cl.), bari.(+b.cl), 4 tpt (+flug.), 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, ds.

Solos: pno/ tbn.1

Dragonfly's Glasses ” とんぼのめがね”

(2008) 8′

a.sx 1, a.sx 2,  t.sx 1, t.sx 2, b.sx, 4 tpt, 4 tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloist: a.sx 2

One of my recent interests is to interpret traditional Japanese children’s music through the prism of my ensemble. I re-compose these songs utilizing many of their simple motives for thematic development through the language of my harmonic and melodic concept. “Dragonfly’s Glasses” and “Opened,Opened” are two of my re-compositions of Japanese children’s songs, and they are part of the suite “Re-imaging My Childhood” which I wrote in 2009. This work was funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.

Funded in part by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.

Bloom

(2007) 11′

a.sx 1/s.sx/fl, a.sx 2/fl, t.sx 1/cl, t.sx 2/cl, b.sx, 4 tpt, 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: tpt 4, t.sx 1

I composed this piece for my BMI Manny Albam commission in 2007. The Japanese poet Hakushu Kitahara wrote, “A rose bush is where a rose blooms. I suppose there is nothing mysterious about it, however.” To me, this suggests a rose doesn’t try to be anything but itself. Roses are strong in their beauty as a result of nature’s purity. This piece is about my aspiration and longing to grow in that naturally pure, strong, and colorful way. The image of the introduction depicts plants raising their heads in the early morning, looking up the sun, preparing to grow and bloom. Ascending melody lines appear constantly in the theme to express pure and strong energy to become what you are.

Composed for Manny Albam Commission. Premiered by BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra on July, 2007 at Christ and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Dance One

(2006) 10′

s.sx, a.sx, t.sx 1, t.sx 2, b.sx, 4 tpt (flug), 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists, a.sx, tbn 3

This piece was inspired by the modern art work, Henri Matisse’s “Dance 1.” I wanted to express a metaphor of contrast we have in every way in our lives, as movement and stillness, light and darkness, and happiness and emptiness, etc. The first part through the end of alto sax solo represents the optimistic side and the trombone solo over the repeated motive invokes a more pessimistic mood.

The 2006 BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Award-winning piece.

Electric Images

(2004, rev. 2010)

s.sx/fl, a.sx/fl, t.sx 1, t.sx 2, b.sx, 4 tpt/flug, 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, e.b, dr

soloists: e.b, pno, gtr

Islands in the Stream

(2004, rev. 2011) 11′

s.sx, a.sx/fl, t.sx 1/cl, t.sx 2/cl, b.sx/b.cl, 4 tpt/flug, 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, dr

soloists: tpt 3, t.sx 2, gtr

Flying

(2004) 7′

s.sx, a.sx, t.sx 1, t.sx2, b.cl, 4 tpt (flug), 3 tbn, b.tbn, gtr, pno, a.b, drs

soloists: pno, tpt 2

String Quartet

Story of Three Birds

(2019) 20′

I. Bou’s Bird
II. My Name is Joy
III. Night Bird

This suit was inspired by three different birds. I tried to capture their story and represent them through my music. The suit is comprised of three movements.

  1. Bou’s birds was inspired by Spanish photographer Xavi Bou’s work called Ornitographies. Bou created stunning images of birds’ flying paths. The lines birds flew in made me think of the lines of music notes on paper. They are circling like tornadoes, curling like a falling ribbon in the sky, and beautiful regular waves like a big flying dragon.
  2. My Name is Joy was inspired by the children’s book called The Mountain that loved a Bird by Alice McLerran. The book grabbed my heart when I read it for the first time with its powerful message of love, friendship, promise, and commitment.
  3. Night Bird is my imaginary bird who suddenly appeared one day. She is a Barn Owl. She flies in the snow, and pounces on her prey in the dark. She is tough, powerful, and alone.

Commissioned by the Bridge Chamber Music Festival. Premiered by Artaria Quartet on August 25, 2019 at Kracum Hall, Carleton College.

Chamber Ensemble

The Tree in front of My House

(2020) 3′

vln. + gt. + tabla

for Sprig of That

I never owned a tree in my life until my family and I moved to Minnesota almost five years ago. Now I see “our” honey locust tree in front of our house everyday. It is a big old tree. It has a hole where skittish baby squirrels were hiding in spring. Hundreds of cicadas climbed on it this summer, and many different kinds of birds hang out on the tree all year long. I’m in awe to see it burst into vibrant green in spring and change to the beautiful color of yellow, orange, and red in the fall. It is breathtaking when it is covered by snow and looks like blooming white flowers. I tried to capture its beauty, stillness, and energy in this piece.

Commissioned by Sprig of That through their Metro Blend Project funded by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.

Ghost Story of Yotsuya

(2019) 8′

bass cla. + marimba + percussion (b.drum,

Commissioned by Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble for Studio Z Annual Halloween Concert. This work was written in collaboration with Zeitgeist through Studio Z Composers Residence Program funded by Jerome Foundation.

Solo

Twelve Months in Minnesota

(2019) 45′

for Percussion (marimba, vibraphone, bass drum, 

  1. November (Dance of the White Sprites), marimba
  2. June (Shiny Wet Green), marimba
  3. February (Improvisation)
  4. September (Rain, and Thunder)
  5. August (So Quiet), marimba
  6. October (Improvisation)
  7. March (Melting)
  8. April (Slow but Coming), marimba
  9. January (White Big Devil), 2 bass drums
  10. May (Improvisation)
  11. July (Lost in the Deep Woods), vibraphone
  12. December (First Snow), marimba

When I moved to Northfield from Brooklyn, New York in 2016, I was fascinated by Minnesota’s vibrant nature. Summer is colorful and brilliant, and winter is very cold but beautiful. Night is dark as I cannot see my feet on my way home walking, but I see many stars when I look up. The sunrise and sunset are breathtakingly magical, and clouds are often in some interesting shapes so I can watch them for a long time.

This piece contains 12 movements inspired by each month of the year in Minnesota, and I tried to capture the moments I cut out from the year. It has been a great journey to complete this piece working closely with Dave Hagedorn, since this is my first try to write a solo percussion work. Lastly, I deeply thank to the Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund) and the American Composers Forum for supporting my new work.

Composed through collaboration with percussionist, David Hagedorn. This work was supported by Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund). Premiered by Dave on January 23rd, 2020 at Urness Recital Hall, St. Olaf College.

1. November (Dance of the White Sprites)

marimba

2. June (Shiny Wet Green)

marimba

4. September (Rain, and Thunder)

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5. August (So Quiet)

marimba

7. March (Melting)

8. April (Slow but Coming)

marimba

9. January (White Big Devil)

2 bass drums

11. July (Lost in the Deep Woods)

vibraphone, bow

12. December (First Snow)

marimba

Vocal

Songs of One's Own

(2021) 25′

for Women Vocal Quartet 

 

Mountain Moving Day Text by Akiko Yosano
 
The Muses Text by Sappho/ Translated by John Myers O’Hara
 
Therefore Text by Mary Shelley
 
No Birds Singing Text by Asuka Kakitani 
 
Rooms of Our Own Text by Virginia Woolf
 
In This Short Life Text by Emily Dickins
 

 

It started when I stumbled on the article in the Guardian by Brigid Delaney where the author wondered what her female ancestors may have excelled at. “Writing or singing, sewing or poetry; did they draw, or did they paint?” She continues, “I have to guess because they left nothing behind but their bloodline.” This article resonated with me, and I thought about my own Japanese female ancestors. I imagined the lives of those women who I had never met – even pictures of most of them don’t exist – and their creative voices I have no way to trace. And this thought eventually led me to wonder what it was like to be a female artist in their generation. So I looked for clues for my question in the work of women writers. In 2020-21, I wrote music to the texts of Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Mary Shelley, Sappho, and Akiko Yosano, who left behind their strong voices despite the professional obstacles that they might have had by being women artists in their generation. Each text I humbly set music to touched my heart somewhere deep. I feel related to these writings because of my own experience as a woman and because I admired their bravery and because their beauty simply moved me. I wanted to create their story from my perspective by composing music for their writings. 

Composed for Quince Ensemble. This work was supported by Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. Premiered by Quince Ensemble on March 18th, 2022 at Kracum Hall, Carleton College.