Yangnan (Paul) Liu ‘12  – Recently, I have been exposed to different dimensions of art, particularly musical performance during my program seminars. Each week, a couple of us New York Arts Program students are invited to non-traditional music concerts to experience the different music composed and performed in an organic way.

Most of the pieces would not be considered “music” right away by many of us. However, after listening to these amazingly pure and dynamic compositions quietly with appreciation, I could gradually feel the emotions and start making my stories and scenarios that fit into the melody and the special mood. The most exciting part of this kind of music is that it allows the performers to redefine the traditional types of music by incorporating different cultural instruments together, forming new styles and giving audience fresh feelings. For example, the one concert I attended last week brilliantly added traditional Chinese instrument Erhu and Pipa in one piece of jazz and consumed a refreshing “east meets west” style, which suddenly lightened the heavy atmosphere and poeticized the western beats.

Many of the interpretations and meanings of the music are also inspiring. There is one title called “Burning Bridges”, which is very likely to remind audience of the old saying “do not burning bridges” meaning that being nice and leaving yourself more options when making a decision. This one, however, is given a completely different interpretation, meaning forgetting old traditions, entering a new era and accepting new customs in the ever-changing life. I guess this is the personal statement of the Chinese composer David, who heritages an eastern blood but is also willing and ready to experiment new styles in his cultural journey in the western art world. From his music, I can clearly see the reason of using of both Chinese string instruments and popular western instruments.

Although I am not a music student and barely listen to classic or non-mainstream music, this part of my life in New York Arts Program brightened my every-day busy life, giving me the opportunity to appreciate some other aspects of art and the most original and most passionate music. I even started searching for some of the artists and want to know more about this form of music.