Ka-Shu (Kenneth) Tam, based in Hong Kong, draws most of his music inspiration from the daily auditory experience in his home city. His music is characterized by its complex timbre and its complicated emotion.
Ka-Shu’s works have been performed and have received radio broadcast all over the world, including the USA, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Croatia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. His works have also been featured in various international events such as the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, the International Computer Music Conference, the Asian Composers League Conference, MUSLab Electroacoustic Music International Exhibition and more. His works cover a wide range of genres, ranging from music for traditional forces to multimedia creations. He has worked with artists and ensembles such as the Arditti quartet (UK), the Hanatsu Miroir (France), the Hayley-Laufer Duo (US/Canada), the dissonArt Ensemble (Greece), the RTHK quartet (Hong Kong), the choreographer/dancer Mary Schnepf (USA), and more.
Ka-Shu is currently pursuing his PhD in Music Composition at the University at Buffalo. He completed his Bachelor in Hong Kong Baptist University and his Master in University of Missouri -Kansas City. His major composition teachers include David Felder, Cort Lippe, James Mobberley, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Christopher Keyes and Christopher Coleman.
„…INTO DIRT…“ FOR STRING QUARTET (2019) PROGRAM NOTES
…Into Dirt… is a literary description of burial in Chinese. Whether the word is pointing to physical event such as the decomposition of a dead body into dirt, or a spiritual event such as the freeing of soul from a fixed body, the “dirt”, for me, somehow resembles the fluidity of the cycle of randomness in the oriental cosmos view. Dirt can take many forms. When it is dispersed in the wind, it spreads like smoke. When it is hold up in jar, it performs as if some sort of “granulated” liquid. The “dirt” even has a deeper meaning since it has literary connection to the afterlife.
This piece tries to capture the fluidity of the dirt. Precision is not a parameter here. Small indeterminative cells are embedded within a larger scheme throughout the music. Glissando and sul ponticello are widely employed to smooth out most of the pitches. Even for some points where there are explicit minor triads, unsteady vibrati are used to reduce the triads’ decisive sound quality. As a result, the music is highly liquified. It flows from the beginning to the end.