minima vacui for Violin, Trombone, and Piano (2023) - 5'
Commissioned by Nexbloom
minima vacui originated from the term “horror vacui,” meaning “the fear for space.” In this piece, I am combining the concept of minimalism and horror vacui; by using limited materials to fill up the music as much as possible.
Fading Memories for Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello (2023) - 6'
Dedicated to My Grandmother
It has been a couple years since my grandma has passed. Recently I found out that all of a sudden I did not remember what she looked like; it scared me that I had to ask my parents to show me a photo of her, and the memories started flooding back. Fading Memories is probably the most emotionally complex piece I've ever composed. It is a reminder to me that our loved ones might fade away, but they are never truly gone.
Neon Vanish for Flute, Clarinet, Alto-Saxophone, and Trumpet (2023) - 5'
Commissioned by New Music Mosaic in January, 2023
Growing up in Taiwan, I had many memories about the trips I took on the trains back home. Whenever I'm waiting, I will hear the whistle, and a neon colour rushing by. The trains never stopped running until its recent replacement with a newer model. Faster, more convenient, but does not feel the same. I wanted to capture that feeling with Neon Vanish through phasing and the traditional Taiwanese melodies.
“Nostalgia” for Violin, Cello, and Piano (2022) – 7’
Commissioned by the Mostly Modern Festival in June, 2022
Nostalgia" explores my music from old to new. This piece was based on an original twelve tone theme that I wrote back when I first started composition. It was also heavily inspired by the styles of the New York School. "Nostalgia" is often defined as a "sentimental longing for the past." The process of composing this work has been very cathartic: the original theme combined with new motifs, along with fragments of a Traditional Taiwanese tune, "Wang Chun Feng," that is in constant echoes.
“This World is Not” for Voice, Trumpet, Trombone, and Bass Clarinet (2021) – 9’
Commissioned by Longy’s Divergent Studio in June, 2021.
"This World is not" is composed for Loadbang at Longy's Divergent Studio 2021. The text uses fragments from Emily Dickenson's poem "This World is not Conclusion." Like the original poem, this piece is a reflection of the unknown and the absurdity of the afterlife.
“Nostalgia” for Violin, Trumpet, and Piano (2021) – 5’
Commissioned by Longy's Ensemble Uncaged in March, 2021.
For me, "Nostalgia" explores my music from old to new. This piece was based on an original theme that I composed back when I first started composition; and it was also inspired by the styles of the New York School. "Nostalgia" is a fragmented piece of melody that is in constant echoes.
“Canvas Study” for Alto Saxophone, Electric Guitar, Vibraphone, and Piano (2020) – 6’
Commissioned by the Hypercube Ensemble & Charlotte New Music
In Canvas Study, the composer drew inspiration from a series of “White Paintings” such as Kazimir Malevich's White on White (1918), Robert Rauschenberg's White Painting (1951), Robert Ryman's Untitled (1961), etc. Wu describes Canvas Study as another step closer to these artworks. While most viewers see the white canvas, Wu used the concept of minimalism and tone rows to depict the different textures, brushstrokes, and fabric that make up the paintings. To Wu, this is also his commentary on the non-stop racial movements and injustice. He continues: “When there is a majority, the minorities were always forgotten.” Like viewing these paintings, people must pay close attention to the textures and shades that are often overseen.
“Portraits” for Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Vibraphone, and Piano (2019/2021) – 8’
Commissioned by the Atlantic Music Festival for the AMF Contemporary Ensemble in 2019. Edited for the Alkali Collective Call for Scores in 2021.
“Portraits” was originally composed as a response to the works of Dutch realist painter, Henk Helmantel. I was mesmerized by the style of “Still Life” that Helmantel had created; what struck me the most was his ability to paint reflections on still objects. As I started to piece this work together; the process became a reflection of my own memoirs, coalescing the different episodes of my compositions into a series of “self-portraits.”
“L’Étranger” for Violin, Cello, and Piano (2018) – 9’
Commissioned by the Zodiac Music Academy & Festival 2018
“In our society any man who does not weep at his mother's funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.” --- Albert Camus, 1955.
“L’Étranger” is inspired by the 1942 novel by French author Albert Camus. Like the novel itself, the trio explores the theme of absurdism through the point of view of the character, Mersault (violin), fighting through his emotions (cello) against the society (piano) that condemns his actions. The trio itself is based on a hybrid form that I am currently experimenting on; featuring traits such as Romanticism, Minimalism, and Improvisation.
At Dusk for Open Instrumentation (2018/2021) – 10’
During my composition studies, one of the first exercises that my professor had us doing was improvisation, and “improv” has become a very important aspect in my composition process. At Dusk describes a scene on a beach on the east coast, it combines my various improvisational experiences and I am very happy to present it with my fellow classmates.
“The End of the Beginning” for String Quartet (2018/2020) – 8’
Presented as part of the Julius Quartet's EMERGE Composition Workshop, February 2021.
“The End of the Beginning” was Wu’s first string quartet. This piece was heavily influenced by the style of Romantic violin literature, as well as minimalism and improvisational works. The original idea was to create a neo-Romantic style string quartet; however, throughout the composition process, the piece evolved into a modern crossover with variations based on the Latin hymn, Dies Irae.
Variations of Teentaal & Dadra for Tabla & String Quartet (2018) – 5’
Trio de Memorie for Flute, Violin, and Piano (2018) – 6’
“Everything is like a love story, not necessarily romantic, but full with passion about give or take; ups and downs; with hardships and perseverance.”
Dedicated to Isabella L.R.
Trio de Memorie is a love story, or more like the different stages of a love. The trio is divided into three main sections: The Andante cantabile shows the sweetness of the romance followed by a solo flute cadenza. Allegro agitato interrupts the silence, bringing the intense storm and obstacles that need to be overcome. Return of the Andante cantabile is accompanied with hints of the Allegro agitato; followed by a solo violin cadenza. The ending shows the uniting of a couple. It is left with not necessarily an ending, but a hope for the future.