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Yulan Yu

Which sound is special for you?

This is not an easy one for me! I know there are composers and musicians who are gifted with that fascinating imagination of sounds and have a deep connection with some specific sound. They recreate or better said, realise that sonic world when they make music. However speaking from my experience, mostly the sound material I use in a piece is rather “random” – sometimes a piece is inspired by a sound that I accidently come across (a noise from the street, a multiphonic on the saxophone, a short motif which lasts for no more than a second that bumps into my ears out of a pop song…); sometimes when I am not particularly inspired, then I have to choose a simple musical element, a chord, an interval for example, and develop it into a piece. Besides, to me a sound only “makes sense” in a context, thus it is difficult for me to say which sound is special. But just to answer this question, I would say I like minor seven chords. I like the sound of water (of all kinds, drops, water bodies, rain, running tap water…). Think my taste is very cheesy. 🙂

What makes artistic collaboration work?

Understanding. That the artists involved must work to understand each other’s ideas, at the same time keep shaping and adjusting their own to finally reach a fruitful and harmonius outcome. I believe that once you have the willingness to understand each other and achieve something together, you will know how to work creatively together and find a way to make it work practically. At the end I geniunely think that artists are those who have the will and skill to understand.

What do you want to find out with your music?

“The idea”. Again I am speaking from my experience: I can’t tell you how many times when composing a piece I only come to find out that the piece has already compoaed itself as if it has its own will. This is related to the second question – it’s all about understanding, in this case understanding the true idea behind a piece; also related to the first question – for me it is necessary to stay open and sensitive to inspirations, then my job as a composer is to try my best to capture this inspiration and with the help of compositional techniques bring it to life as close as I can manage.


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