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'Who Do You Think You Are?' themed concert

Self-performed concert with Fluxus elements, live Max/MSP and videos, and audience participation pieces.

In September 2020, when the first lockdown in Wales was partially relaxed, I finally took the chance to travel back to China. This trip had a critical purpose: to create one of the two concluding projects of my PhD research in Xiamen, the city that most influenced the development of my original identity. I decided to realise this project with a themed concert lasting about ninety minutes, which was distinctive in two ways: firstly, I was the only composer-performer present on stage; secondly, it invited the audience members to become their own source of identity sampling and encouraged them to reflect on themselves. Thus, this concert serves both as an exploration of identity and as an experiment in new forms of composition, performance and public engagement.

While I was planning the concert in November 2020, the pandemic-related restrictions were slowly being lifted in China, but it was still difficult to travel internationally and even interprovincially. Consequently, the likelihood of having an ensemble available for the concert was negligible. This practical limitation coincided with my interest in exploring the composer-performer’s identity. As a response, I set two questions for my final project:

1. What can I do as the only composer-performer on stage for a concert of substantial time?

2. How can I make this concert and its constituent compositions into a giant dynamic identity-forming act?

The resulting concert reflects on the issue of identity and self-expression in its every detail. To begin with, the title, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, is already provocative. Following on from this, the music I composed or selected either address the identity issues directly or engage self as part of the performance, thus clearly stating the concert’s theme and intentions.

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