Dog Trio

DOG TRIO ist ein Ensemble für Sopran, Elektronik und Klavier aus Hamburg. Wir sind: Pia Davila (Sopran), Hanne Franzen (Klavier) und Dong Zhou (multimediale Komposition). Wir führen zeitgenössische Musikwerke für Sopran und/oder Klavier und Elektronik auf und finden Visualisierungen und multimediale Umsetzungen für diese bzw. gehen andersherum vor, d.h. gehen von einem Film aus, zu dem Musik gespielt/komponiert wird.

Dickinson-Projekt im Tonali Saal
Konzert in Westwerk am 30.10.2020
Beitrag zur VAMH “Online Musicking” im Jahr 2020

Antrag, Antrag

(Danke an Karsten Gundermann für die Korrektur.)

Ich sollte einen Antrag stellen
Das ist Teil von Komponist*ins Arbeit
Aber was mache ich jetzt
Ingwer und Schnittlauch kaufen

Die Deadline nähert sich
Aber ich sitze nicht am Tisch
Was mache ich jetzt
Schwarzfahre mit einer Bürste zum Umtausch

Welche meiner tausend Ideen soll ich auswählen
Muss ich so tun, als ob ich die Förderung schon hätte
Wird die Zeit verschwendet sein
Werde ich verletzt sein, wenn ich wieder nichts bekomme

Nach diesem Antrag warten noch viele Anträge
Eine Ausschreibung nach der anderen
So ist Komponist*ins Kalender
Es gibt keinen Januar, Februar, März
Ich zähle die Tage mit Musikfonds, Ernst von Siemens Stiftung, Kulturförderung…

Es ist keine Zeit mehr
Ich muss etwas einsenden
Es wird mich schämen
Aber egal, Hauptsache nicht noch eine Chance zu verpassen

Ich beginne gleich
Nachdem ich mit der neuen Bürste Geschirr abspüle

Being Human Makes Me Exhausted

Oh You
Ask
What is
My Problem?

Being human makes me exhausted

After lunch you must
Think of dinner
Of course you could
Skip the dinner
But then you must
Think of the next lunch

Being human makes me exhausted

You read news?
People are dying
And the next could be me

Being human makes me so exhausted

You know what is the best of a
Bubble tea?
It’s not the milk, not the tea
Not even the tapioca

It’s the straw
Yes the straw
Only when you drink bubble tea
You can always suck

Being human makes me so exhausted

Probably
Being a dog would be easier

But being dog as a dog
Isn’t it just like
Being human as a human?

It must be exhausting too

Oh
You know how is it to be a dog?
I tell you
I know how it is
To be a human

Re: member, a double concerto 

Foto: Huanyu Wang

Text: Hannes Jedeck

Die Zusammenarbeit zwischen der in Deutschland lebenden Komponistin Dong Zhou und der Taiwanesen Tänzerin Jess Chiayi Seetoo entsprang dem Wunsch, die räumliche Distanz zwischen ihren beiden Lebensmittelpunkten – den Hafenstädten Hamburg und Shanghai – in einem gemeinsamen Projekt künstlerisch zu überbrücken. Zu zweit machten sie sich auf die Suche nach neuen Formen der Erzählung und der Kollaboration.

Material fanden die beiden Künstlerinnen in ihren jeweils individuellen und dennoch durch Parallelen gekennzeichneten Biografien. In ihren Familiengeschichten, die sowohl von westlichen als auch von chinesischen Musiktraditionen geprägt sind, sahen sie Potenzial für eine multiperspektivische Performance. So waren verschiedene Verwandte Seetoos Musiker – ihre Großtante sogar stimmführende Cellistin im Chinesischen Nationalorchester und eine der Meisterschülerinnen des berühmten russischen Cellisten Mstislav Rostropovich. Ihr Tod im Mai 2021 markierte das Ende des direkten Familienstammbaums. Dong Zhou entstammt ebenfalls einer Musikerfamilie. Für sie spielt die chinesische Tradition der Seiden- und Bambusmusik (Jiangnan Sizhu) eine wichtige Rolle.

In der gemeinsamen Performance, die aus einer aufgezeichneten Choreografie der Tänzerin und Choreografin Jess Chiayi Seetoo und den elektronischen Klängen der Multimediakomponistin und Musikerin Dong Zhou besteht, verarbeiten die beiden Künstlerinnen signifikante Elemente und Materialien ihrer Biografien sowie der ihrer familiären Geschichte und Herkunft, indem sie diese collagenartig anordnen und miteinander in Beziehung bringen. Das Videoprojekt mit Live-Performance ist eine Reflexion über das Leben mehrerer Generationen zwischen Asien und Europa. Immer wieder werden Filmpassagen kommentiert durch live eingeschobene musikalische Abschnitte und Improvisationen auf der westlichen Violine und ihrem chinesischen Pendant, der chinesischen Kniegeige Erhu. Es ist ein Experiment mit ungewissem Ausgang, eine Reflexion darüber, wie ein neuer Raum der künstlerischen Kollaboration geschaffen werden kann – virtuell, physisch und dazwischen.

Trailer (Bearbeitung von Jess Chiayi Seetoo)

Tanz und Choreogrfie: Jess Chiayi Seetoo

Chinesische Erhu: Tzu-Ning Liao

Komposition, Elektronische Musik, Violine: Dong Zhou

Filmregie: Hao Yan

Kamera: Songhao Wu

Konzeption: Dong Zhou, Jess Chiayi Seetoo

In Kooperation mit dem KlangForum Heidelberg e.V.

Corns

There is one thing I truly miss

from Shanghai

It’s the endless corns in summer

Every time my mother said

“I bought corns”

It means she bought

a lot of kilos

of that kind of

corns from Jiangnan area

which have a lighter color than those from north China or America

almost white

There were so many of them

in pot

I could poke them

to pick the tenderest one to eat

After some days

my mother would put the rest in freezer

and steam some of them time by time

Do you know what is “carefree”

It’s the endless corns in pot

There would never be too few

and I don’t need to worry

if there were too many

Gong Projekt Call for Score 2021

Update on 25th April 2021: Thank you very much again for your interest! We contacted all composers personally so we did not post the result immediately after we knew it. But we are happy to prepare the pieces by Christine K. Brückner and Eden Lonsdale. We were overwhelmed by the huge amount of highly interesting proposals, it was a hard decision to choose which piece to play. We will look for more chances to develop more of your ideas!

Update on 8th March 2021: “homage to classical composers with Asian philosophy” means that homage to a classical composer, preferably a female one (e.g. Clara Schumann) in a way showing your understanding of Asian philosophy. The classical composer does not have to do anything with Asian culture. Please specify the classical composer’s name when you send your proposal. Thank you and sorry for the confusion.

We are looking for pieces for our concert in summer 2021 in St. Jakobi church in Hamburg!

You can find information about us here (also concert recordings): https://dongzhou.live/2017/06/23/gong-project/

General

1. This call is open to all composers for a new piece to be performed in this summer.

2. No entrance fee.

3. The deadline is April 1st, 2021. We will inform the result latest on April 8th, 2021. If selected, the piece must be finished before April 30th, 2021.

4. The performance material should be a graphic notation, text notation, audio score or other kind of open notation.

5. If it has a fixed duration, it is preferred to be between 5-10 minutes.

6. Please send a simple proposal (max. 2 pages) with a brief biography of you to Dong Zhou (shimo.dong.zhou@gmail.com). Any other file (audio, video, picture…) which helps explaining your idea is welcomed.

7. 1 or 2 pieces will be performed.

8. We cannot provide any commission fee, but we will share the audio and video documentation.

9. The jury is the musicians. Besides the creativity of the composition, feasibility is also an important criterion.

10. Due to the current situation of Covid-19, we reserve the right to cancel the concert or change it to online form.

Theme

The theme of the pieces is “homage to classical composers with Asian philosophy”. We hope to see pieces explore the life and spirit of a composer, find something resonating with Asian philosophy and use it as an input to inspire the musicians to create new sound. When choosing the classical composer, women composers are preferred.

Update on 8th March 2021: “homage to classical composers with Asian philosophy” means that homage to a classical composer, preferably a female one (e.g. Clara Schumann) in a way showing your understanding of Asian philosophy. The classical composer does not have to do anything with Asian culture. Please specify the classical composer’s name when you send your proposal.

Instrumentation

Any combination of following from solo to quartet:

1. organ

2. alto saxophone

3. violin/ electronic (only one can be chosen in the same piece)

4. live painting/ performance/ female voice (only one can be chosen in the same piece)

Memo

1. The organ in St. Jakobi has a special historical temperament, all the sounding pitch is almost a whole tone higher than equal temperament. If you write exact notes for the organ, the organist must transcribe them. You may have to change some notes 1-2 weeks before the concert.

More information about the Arp Schnitger organ (please check the recordings too): https://jacobus.de/musik/orgeln

2. Electronic can be used up to 2 channels. Live electronic with Max or Ableton Live is possible. Only one contact microphone is available for live electronic.

3. No text can be used for performance or voice. The voice is a natural one without operatic training. Amplifying the voice is possible.

4. Audio score can be played from loudspeakers or headphones. In case of headphones, the organist cannot be synchronized with other musicians because the position for organist is far from the stage.

5. If you have further question, please feel free to ask Dong Zhou (shimo.dong.zhou@gmail.com).

Very much looking forward to hearing from you!

Gong Projekt

13.02.2021

Hebebrandstrasse

On the street Hebebrandstrasse
there is a building
I can only call it A Building
because it had too many functions
It is very fluid
so fluid that I can’t give it a name


It was the temporary campus
for many schools
including my university during 2015-2017
We were in this temporary campus
living an experimental life

Experimental
that means, it could fail
and nobody cares
We were in a temporary campus
after two years everything will go

On Hebebrandstrasse
everything
lasts only two years

We hung a large piece of paper on every door
to write this room’s current function
but we didn’t do anything
more than that

On one of the door
we wrote “Ligeti Saal” (Ligeti Hall)
But it was just an empty room
when we had concert there
we must move some lamps and chairs first

It sounds like
we were insulting Ligeti
comparing with other Ligeti Halls in anywhere else
But we were not
our insult was general
Brahms Building, Mahler Building, center of microtonal music…
all of them were just more or less
empty rooms

I was surprised
a piece of paper
changed so much
And after two years
so much can be removed
by just removing these pieces of paper

I had a lot of failures there
I was scolded, ignored, misunderstood
It should be temporary
because nothing stays in Hebebrandstrasse more than two years
But I didn’t have a piece of paper on me

On the day we packed our things
to move to a real campus
I found a cassette
it was written “Dream” on it

But I couldn’t find a cassette player anywhere

We were in a temporary campus
living an experimental life

At the Edge of the Pool

When I was in kindergarten
I was to be trained to do water ballet
We were too young and short
to either dive or use the ladder
So we sat at the edge of the pool first
then hit the wall to make ourselves into the water

It was a hard decision
to be into the water
Even we can swim very well
it was a hard decision
to make us wet
and cold
and to start with 10*100 meters of breast stroke
then 10*100 meters of free style
then 10*100 meters of back stroke…

It could be warm
and fun later
But it could also be tiring
and boring
and frustrating
and even colder when back to the shore

It was a hard decision
to face so many challenges
and uncertainties
And the moment I sat at the edge of the pool
was the last break before I went through all of them

Now every morning
when I sit at the edge of the bed
I feel the same

The life after Corona?

When I am writing this article, we are currently in the post-pandemic time in Germany. Like post-modernist does not mean modernist is already over, post-digital aesthetics does not mean digital productions disappeared; post-pandemic life doesn’t mean “life after the pandemic”.

In the middle of March 2020, people were believing the pandemic would be an affair which would neither last long nor bring long-term change in our life. Matthias Horx has even predicted we will have football matches again in summer. And now we are in the summer. After a period of relaxing in restrictions, the “good old days” still did not come back, and we started to worry about another drastic increasing number of cases. No matter WHO refused to call the spike in infection number in Korea “a second wave”, the kind of “second wave” indeed arrived in countries like Israel and China. Not as we thought in winter 2020, but now. We will coexist with the virus, no one knows how long it will end. Even the “end” will come, more irreversible changes will still happen before it.

Rather than understanding the topic as “the life when Covid-19 is gone”, I would like to interpret it as “ the life after Covid-19 became part of it”. As an artist, I, as well as many of my fellow artists were influenced since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. From March almost all our conversations are about our future. “Can artist exist as an occupation?” It was only a question we often heard from our families and acquaintances, but now we must think it over again. 

Is artist an occupation? Apparently it is not a working position. But when you tried to work at a position and do art in your spare time, you may find your time and energy are not enough to realise your artistic ideas. So you adjusted your strategy, let all other works you do support you doing art. At that moment you became an artist. If artist is an occupation, it takes 7/24 to work. Being an artist is a lifestyle.

But among our platforms to meet the audience there is now only the internet left. Without the physical presence, there is no real concert, theatre, or exhibition. Of course, no income for artists. When the crisis came, art became one of the most disposable parts. Not only the politicians but also many ordinary people are supporting this idea. A survey by The Sunday Times showed that their readers in Singapore regarded artists as the least essential occupation during the pandemic.

I do not want to defend artists by saying “without art people would be too boring to stay at home”. People can stay at home and cook, bake, do handcraft and gardening… Artists may also not be too happy to exist only for helping people to kill time. Besides, the dead artists already left numerous heritage, from a perspective of mass entertainment, contemporary artists are indeed not essential. So should we just stop creating art?

What I talk with people less is that as a Chinese I have already been hit by Covid-19 in January. My travel was canceled, many of my Chinese colleagues are either stuck in China or could not go there. Today my mother even realised that we may not see each other in at least two years.

And it is not just for Chinese but immigrants of all origins: international projects became almost impossible, local job chances are decreasing. Some couples are considering to get married sooner to solve the visa and financial problems. But these who are not in the same country for the moment, do not even know when they can meet again. As singles, we must be separated from family for unknown time period and solve all problems ourselves.

Being an artist is a lifestyle.

Being an immigrant is a lifestyle.

Being single is a lifestyle.

Not like the venerable groups like people of color, disables, people with mental illness, LGBTQ+…  This lifestyle other than the “mainstream” is my choice. 

But actually, everyone has a “non-mainstream” part in their life. Are you a freelancer? Are you in a long-distance relationship? Do you travel to another city to work? Are you unwilling to have a fixed partner? Do you spend old age alone or in a nursing home? If what is “alternative” should be abandoned, we will all be violated by the idea of sacrificing a little group to protect the whole community.

At any time, artists as a minority would find the problems of society and reveal them directly or indirectly through their creation. And in this crisis today, the existence of artists is reminding us, there are still other possibilities of life. These possibilities become the motivation that we do not die from a “mainstream” life. We are now having a castrated life where only “essential” things are allowed. But it is not because this lifestyle is reasonable. It is because we know after surviving this, the exciting life will be back. The “good old days” may not come again, but we must believe, the lifestyle we choose will be realised and maintained with other methods. 

We can rebuild the theatres and improve the ventilation; new technologies could enable open space to have high-quality sound and light system just like in closed space; in train and aircraft we could give passengers more personal space; the public toilets could be installed with automatic disinfection system…

Some politicians’ and folks’ arrogance and ignorance have led to the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19. But security does not mean giving up the individual will and freedom. To polarise things is always simpler, but actions should be taken to adjust the society to the pandemic without losing its value. As the slogan at the beginning of the pandemic said: leave no one behind. Let me add to it: leave no one unessential.