Category Archives: Music

A Vesper, for two cellos

In moments, we plea, reaching out into else, and groaning, humbled, and tired. All possess that potential for despair, when utterances fail, and composure—self-sufficiency—is drawn out, stretched beyond, laid bare, and exposed as a proud veil of guile. We break, and are remade. A Vesper for Two Cellos.

A Vesper for Two Cellos was premiered by Eric Haugen and Alessandra Garvin (featured in this video) in Ann Arbor, MI on December 14th, 2012; it received it’s New York City premiere soon after at The Juilliard School on December 16th, 2012.

Blue Yarn

Blue Yarn Poster

In 2011 I worked with director Chelsea Rebecca and a team of filmmakers in Ann Arbor on the production of the short film “Blue Yarn.” The music I wrote was a combination of solemn piano interludes and early 1960’s country tunes. In addition to composing an original score, I worked on set as a boom operator, and worked in post production as the sound designer and mixer.

I love working with film, and I love being asked to do things that I’ve never done before. I’ll get around to writing more country crooning songs some day, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such diverse and talented artists and technicians.

Although the entire film isn’t available to the public, the closing credits, with music by yours truly, can be found below.

“Blue Yarn” End Credits from Katt Qian on Vimeo.

The Glow Within Our Steps

The Glow Within Our Steps - PosterTying up all loose ends post-graduation takes a lot of time and energy, and in the meantime my blog has suffered in neglect. I intend to remedy this within the next few weeks.

For now, however, let me bring an end to my blogging hiatus by posting a link to a full-length video of The Glow Within Our Steps, my doctoral dissertation. Lights, sound, video, choreography, immersive media, live musicians, mobile interactive light stands, octophonic sound installation . . . What more could one want?

The video below documents a public performance which took place within the installation space on May 1st, 2013. It highlights the work of choreographic collaborators Maxx Passion and Brittany Whitmoyer. The installation and performances were hosted by the Gallery in the Duderstadt Center on the campus of the University of Michigan. Program notes, written by myself, may be found below.

Mobile Pillars of Light“In retrospect, my life has largely operated somewhere between two interdependent axioms. The first, after Heraclitus, is that the only thing that is real and true is change itself. The second is that meaning is made, not found.

Considering the proposition that change is the only constant, I value activities which manufacture meaning, thereby temporally fixing the fleeting moments of our lives by affording us the luxury of locking onto sentimentality in midst of an endless flux; I value the phenomenological emphasis on subjective experience as opposed to the ostensibly objective things which populate our experiences; I value events, rites, and rituals that transform the otherwise mundane into consecrated endeavors; I value the surface formality of activities because, in the end, it is only our instituted formalities which separate the ordinary from the extraordinary; I value the process of meaning making, because if we excel at generating meaning for ourselves, we can then craft and share unique meanings with those around us. Assuming control over meaning allows one to overflow with optimism in the face of struggle, to exert patience in trying times, or to express compassion as opposed to passing judgement. Making meaning in our human sociality requires an empathic imagination.
The Glow Within Our Steps explores this. Here is a gallery, in a building, but I have strived to make it something more. With invocations of light and darkness, sound and silence, flux and stasis, I have endeavored to highlight the contrasts of simple things in order to generate a psychological place for the profound. We fill this space with our own meanings, and, ultimately, our own experiences. We are the ones who are capable of transforming a vacuous space into a meaningful glowing place. There is a Glow Within Our Steps.”