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Concerto for Piano, Percussion, and Wind Ensemble (2012-13)

Roger McVey, piano; UW-RF Wind Ensemble, Pat O'Keefe, conductor 

In recent years, I have been interested in the application of symmetry in music. One of my favorite composers, Olivier Messiaen has developed a compositional system that utilizes seven modes of limited transpositions, of which each of these modes is symmetrically constructed. I have enjoyed adapting them to create symmetric harmony for several of my recent works, including “Earth” a largescale song cycle and “Dream of a Hundred Flowers” for Saxophone Quartet and 4 Chinese Instruments, etc. In this Concerto, I also utilized some of these modes. More adventurous for this particular piece, I tried to create structurally the symmetry of form, and its contents corresponding to the harmony as well. My obsession perhaps relates to the source of my inspirations: nature, such as the reflection of water that is a natural form of symmetry. I also adapted four Chinese poems from the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), each of which imaginatively described the theme of my piece “Fēng” (Chinese pronunciation of “wind”). The narrator and musicians are all involved in reciting the poetry at various places, which aims to create the atmosphere and hopefully add some special flavors to the music. This work was commissioned by the 47th annual University of Wisconsin at River Falls Commissioned Composer Program in 2012.


ca. 18 minutes


1 Speaker (baritone/bass voice)

1 Piccolo* doubling Alto Flute; 1 Flute 1 Clarinet in Bb; Bass Clarinet;

Alto Saxophone; Baritone Saxophone;

1 Trumpet in C; 1 Trumpet in Bb; 1 Tenor Trombone; 1 Bass Trombone

2 Percussions; 1 Piano


March 21, 2013
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, WI
University of Wisconsin-River Falls Wind Ensemble
Pat O'Keefe, conductor


 The University of Wisconsin-River Falls for the 47th Commissioned Composer Project

Four Tang Poems about Wind:


  李嶠 (唐)





Li Qiao (Tang)

At an aeolian breath the leave of autumn wither,

And buds of spring into full bloom all blow,

And towing billows sweep across the rolling river,

And ten thousand bamboos slant and bend low.

To a Fellow Passenger on the boat on the Zhejiang River

孟浩然 (唐)


扁⾈共济与君同。 时时引领望天末, 何处青⼭是越中?

Meng Haoran (Tang)

The Water is smooth, the tides ebb, the winds still,

And I take a little boat along the river with thee.

Now and then I eargerly gaze towards the distant sky,

And wonder where is middle Yue, with its green hill?

The Flute Heard at the Frontier


雪尽胡天牧马还, 月明羌笛戍楼间。 借问梅花何处落, 风吹⼀夜满关⼭。

Gao Shi (Tang)

From pastures returns the steeds beneath the snow-white sky,

Among the towers of post arises the sound of flute in moonlight.

But where does this tune of plum bloom drift in its flights?

By the nightly wind it is wafted along the passes on high.

Song of Autumn Wind

刘禹锡 (唐)






Liu Yuxi ((Tang)

Whence rises the autumn wind with a soughing moan,

Which sends a flock of wild geese across the sky?

Soon as the gale whistles through the court tree at morn,

The lonely alien guest awakens first to its sigh.

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