March 14, 2023


Benjamin Gabbay: Nigun of Four Gates

Nigun of Four Gates is a reimagining of “The Alter Rebbe’s Nigun of Four Gates” (aka “The Nigun of Four Stanzas”), a wordless nigun attributed to 18th-century rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. In the original tune, each of the four musical phrases (“stanzas”) is meant to correspond to one of the four Kabbalistic spiritual realms, through which the singer’s spirit is raised by the recitation of the nigun. In this interpretation for cello ensemble, each stanza undergoes extended thematic metamorphoses intended to reflect the improvisatory, meditative, and intimate manner in which a nigun is typically performed. Colour and momentum are built up with each stanza before culminating in the spiritual ecstasy of the fourth stanza.“There are gates in heaven that cannot be opened except by melody and song.” – Attributed to Rabbi
Shneur Zalman of Liady.

Salome Zhang: Blue

A fog, lingers above my eyes,
the fog, raised from the blue aghast.
weaved by your deep blue eyes-
A siren, drilling my ears.
Your eyes bleed out the blue,
nourished by this tearless sea.
The blue, is fog, is blood, is your eyes-
I am drowned in this arid sea.
away from this strident ocean,
My breath is suffocated by the fog,
Your obnoxious blue eyes are the sole accompany

Justin Lapierre: Maritime Landscapes

I. SUNRISE ON THE WATER: A traditional motive-prelude based on a neighbour-tone ‘wave’ gesture, which is brought through many remote tonal centres just as the sunrise creates many different hues on the surface of the water at dawn. The only tonal piece in the suite (i.e. in the Ionian mode), so as to reflect the nobility of the rising sun and natural world beyond the waves.
II. ECHOES OF SEA SHANTIES PAST: A kaleidoscopic vision of multiple contrasting, oblique motifs derived from old sea songs from the East Coast, bound together in a rhetorical dialogue between tempi, meter, and tone as if the songs were emanating from a time long gone. First of
the two modal movements (in the Dorian mode).
III. BRIGHTLY PAINTED BEACH TOWN: A joyful rondo based on syncopated dance gestures. Second of the two modal movements (in the Mixolydian mode).

Aaron Joseph Claude Gascon: Sonata for Bass Trombone

This piece was a chance to explore an instrument that does not have a lot of solo repertoire: the bass trombone. It has many underappreciated timbres across its range, and this was an opportunity to explore what I could do with them. In its deliberation with the piano, the bass trombone explores as many dynamics, articulations, and stylistic changes as I was able to fit in, all held together by a few key motifs.

Alexander La: Samba No.1

Samba No.1 is a playful, Brazilian-inspired piece that explores samba rhythms and jazz harmonies. Featuring a strong syncopated bassline, a memorable melody, and a boastful solo section, this piece is a joyful tribute to my love for Brazilian music. This piece features improvisations by Joseph Park.

Joseph (Sehyeok) Park: Toccata for Solo Piano

The Toccata for solo piano is a virtuosic showpiece. It has a trajectory from a state of temporal instability to stability. Throughout the piece, the solitary repeated “D” acts as a structural anchor that signifies the change from instability to stability and vice versa.

Minjoo Kim: <Partita Rococo> for two clarinets, Percussion, and Piano

Partita Rococo for two clarinets, percussion, and piano was written in 2022 and 2023. This work consists of five movements, each with only one or two very simple ideas appearing intensively, using the traditions of the Bagatelle in eighteenth-century music. No particular continuous story runs through this whole piece, no narrative, but I tried to maintain an atmosphere of ‘ridiculous,’ ‘humorous,’ and ‘scathing satire’ throughout the piece. It can be called “grotesque” to express the emotions dominating this work in a word. In terms of content and artistic depth, this work takes a very intuitive and simple attitude (Rococo style).

Chiara Urban: Life Cycles of Visual Settings

Cycles of Visual Settings was inspired by the environmental climate of Toronto, where the weather is dramatically indecisive. In this piece, the two ends of hot and cold are depicted in two images, with two movements. The first movement, Melt, recreates the life of an icicle. Starting as a frozen structure that slowly defrosts, creating puddles until forming a wintry melody. The end of the movement finds itself frozen once again. Spark, starts with sizzling embers attempting to ignite heat. Only when the meter switches to irregular time, does one hear the ignition of flames take off, rushing to finish the music before their life goes out.

Nolan Hildebrand: Open Graphic Score #2

Kyle Meng: Piano Fantasia No.1

The Piano Fantasia No.1 depicts the word “Kenopsia”, first coined in “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig: “the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet”. The music is built on distorted impressionism. The introduction exposes a short motif, representing those unknown voices in the unsettling environment, they are intertwined with the following icy chorale, describing the growing tension of the unknown place. All the sounds do not exist in Kenopsia, but the mind of the observer.

Anthony Gunadi: Coup de Grâce

The story behind this piece is that there has been a very long war. The protagonists are exhausted, morale is at an all-time low, and the army has suffered countless losses. The state of the war has been a stalemate, but the protagonists are on the brink of collapse and cannot sustain this much longer while the enemy relentlessly pushes for domination. However, the general has recently found a fatal flaw in the enemy’s strategy. He does not hesitate to gather whatever numbers he has left to coordinate a final attack to end the war. In this music, the general inspires his troops to carry out his plan, barking orders and assigning crucial roles, uplifting them with his menacing authority. The soldiers are so moved by their general and they immediately agree with their unwavering loyalty. Even though they are terrified for their lives, they know that this must be done. By the godlike inspiration of the general, this vastly outnumbered army sets up for battle to deliver the coup de grâce. The aftermath of this devastating attack by this small unit will look like it was created by a colossal military.

Stephen Morris: Castles

Castles express the mysterious and imaginative qualities of castles. This expression is built on the hard and magical tone qualities of the marimba and wind chimes. Creating castles that only exist in sound and imagination. The work is written for and dedicated to my friend Julia Tan.

Yu-Pin Lai: I’m Nobody! Who are you?

I’m Nobody! Who are you? is a piece based on the poem by Emily Dickinson. The poem caught my first sight when I saw it; it is ironic, like a complaint – but also implies an eagerness to find another perplexed person in the same boat. On the other hand, the narrator in the poem is also as if talking to another self-personality which is constating to their ego. To me, the hyphens in the poem symbolize the hesitation of the narrator in not having the courage to express themselves. As a society that seamlessly classifies people into different hierarchies, speaking up and recognizing our individuality requires the confidence that most people lack. The piece aims to encourage the audience to trust themself and follow their intuition in life.
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog!
– Emily Dickinson