Contemporary Classical Composer – Laoshi Ma

Contemporary Classical Composer – Laoshi Ma from New Orleans

My music is varied, drawing from as many generes and sounds as I’ve heard. This variety, the impetus to hear and make different sounds, is what drove me to become a contemporary classical composer. After learning how to examine music through university courses, I began to explore music voraciously and sought to use everything I heard in my own music.

Focusing on ideas, rather than full musical thoughts, allows me to deconstruct a part of a piece — a melody, a chord, a timbre — analyzing each aspect and how I can use it. Repeated reinterpretation of ideas provides increased internal consistency in the piece. Consistency allows the piece to stand on its own, allowing me to focus on the particular idea I am reinterpreting for that work. This consistency sometimes surfaces as serialism, but other principles of harmony and tonality are interwoven into the fabric of the piece.

As a contemporary classical composer, I strive to incorporate music that does not come from the western tradition. However, because I know that I cannot understand music from beyond my culture in the same way as those who experience it naturally, I mold and shape the ideas to fit what I and the audience knows. Instead of appropriation and imitation, I strive for new applications of ideas that are pancultural.

A contemporary classical composer cannot forget that the revolutions of modernism and post-modernism push him to expand, not repeat, the repertoire.  I remember the constant searching of Stockhausen,  Schoenberg, Braxton, Cage, Davis; and hope to continue their search on my own path.



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