2018-06-24: Introduction – Qinglin Bruce Bai

The first time I met Bruce was a few years ago when I played one of his compositions. Initially, he seemed very shy and serious, but once we had a chance to talk a bit more, his sense of humour and keen sense of observation quickly emerged. We are very glad that he will be coming here from Vancouver to hear his new work. I hope you will get a chance to chat with him in person! ~ Patty Chan

While reading books as a teenager, I asked myself what these novels had in common. The answer: Humanity. I was too young to understand at the time, but now I realize that literature, art, music, dance, and movies, show what humanity is. Although I am no longer a teenager, there are still many things that I cannot understand. When I started to write Chasing Heart, I wanted to explore humanity further.

For the program note of Chasing Heart, I only wrote one sentence: Chasing back the kind heart that I had before. I could write endlessly about my work, so it is impossible for me to generalize my thirteen minute work in a couple of paragraphs…

What kind of heart am I chasing? A heart of goodness, madness, love, darkness, numbness, or coldness? I would like to leave the answer to you, the audience. I almost lost a part of my heart, but something kind, pure and soft remains within me. I am still alive and real. As I said before, you need to use your own judgement. if you have never gotten lost, you wouldn’t need to find yourself. Chase after whatever you want, but don’t harm others to benefit yourself. What determines who you are? Your heart. A heart is the world.

Last year, I was so honoured to win (tied with Lucas Oickle) the Toronto Chinese Orchestra Composition Competition. This led to the opportunity to compose Chasing Heart for TCO’s 25th Anniversary Concert on June 24, 2018. I would like to thank Patty and Matthew for letting me write whatever I want. I would also like to thank the TCO section leaders, especially Wendy and Jaimie, for providing important suggestions for my work.

I love not only traditional Chinese music, but also heavy metal. You will hear both in Chasing Heart. I am really looking forward to hearing TCO play this in concert!

~ Qinglin Bruce Bai