Mai (2013) for string quartet and electronics - ca. 9'
(left to right) Jason Issokson, Diana Wade, Yoshika Masuda, and Clara Kim in rehearsal for Mai.
2017 Quartet Nouveau Composition Contest, Winner
2015 PUBLIQuartet Access, Finalist
2014 BMI Student Composer Award, Winner
Premiered November 2013: Members of the Argus Quartet (Jason Issokson, Clara Kim, Diana Wade) and Yoshika Masuda, cellist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA
Mai ('water' in Arabic) emerged from my mother's constant urge for me to convert our old VHS home video tapes into a digital format in order to preserve our familial history since the time of my birth. After importing hours and hours of video, I took it upon myself to rewatch the footage specifically from my early childhood, picking out snippets of audio that immediately grasped my attention as important moments in my past, encompassing aural sources as wide varying as my uncle Elie announcing my "first swimming lesson" to a Melkite Catholic congregation chanting the Sanctus during my baptismal service. Over time, I became enthralled with combining these sound bytes with the string quartet, a group I feel is capable of an infinite range of expression. In an effort to celebrate both my Middle-Eastern heritage as well as my current livelihood in America, I decided to fuse microtonal inflections from the Arabic maqam ('scale') within a traditional Western-influenced harmonic setting. It is my sincere hope that this composition can serve as a reflection of the inert instinctual bond of the family unit and its universal commonality in societies everywhere.