Mono no Aware (2021)

This work is presented as a scrolling graphic score. Please contact me if you are interested in this work. It was composed with the intention of addressing different ways of  improvisation pedagogy. It involves visual and audio elements, where the addition or subtraction of them makes for different “levels” of improvisationation difficulty. 

Mono no aware (物の哀れ) is a Japanese term that translates to “an empathy toward things”. It is the awareness of transience. The bittersweet, gentle sadness of transience. The appreciation of transience.

In my experience, improvisation can sometimes feel like that – where you do something beautiful and you know that recreating that feeling and moment is impossible as it has passed. On the other hand, maybe you will play something that you end up hating. I used to feel embarrassed to play if that happened. Though, now I feel confident enough to own those “mistakes” than to hide behind them, time will keep passing and you will keep moving. It’s not about being sad, but more about being aware and sensitive of the presence, decisions, ideas that you contribute within the space.

Chorale (2020)

Co-composed by Louis Pino and Joyce To

It has been interesting to observe community shifts in empathy towards the environment during COVID-19 alongside changes in societal consumption. With single-use items on the rise juxtaposed by the reduction of carbon emissions world-wide, how has society redefined limits on this mutually-affective relationship between humans and Earth? How far into the subconscious have we buried our impacts to places beyond land- the ocean, the ice, the Ozone? Chorale reflects on the environmental trauma of coral reefs. The multimedia work is an inquiry into society’s relationship to personal subconscious impacts to the ocean and ozone. When we begin to examine our daily consumption more deeply, what level of awareness in environmental impact/sustainability do we prescribe into our routines? 

 金沢⋮Gold Creek (2020)

金沢⋮Gold Creek is a set of compositions co-composed by Joyce To and Nozomi Omote. These works are personal reflections on nature and distanced connections during COVID-19. We had originally planned a more formal percussion duo concert together but instead decided to collaborate on something more intimate. Noz is not only my teacher but one of my most trusted friends. I am thankful to have been able to share space with her in this collaborative way before moving to Canada. Big thanks to Clay Schreiber at Aldergrove Studios for the documentation! 


Sunflowers (2020)

Inspired by Abe-san’s story about his sunflower fields in Iitate, Fukushima. Currently, they are still experimenting and researching Fukushima’s radioactive soil on its potential to grow crops. After pulling all the radioactive soil from farmers fields, rather than importing healthy soil the government replaced the fields with mountain soils. Despite the government providing farmers with new machinery, farmers found that the mountain soils were quite poor. Without any harvest or income, maintaining the new machinery also became an added stress. The first thing that could grow for these farmers were sunflowers. Against all the odds the farmers grew sunflowers and if that isn’t beautiful, I don’t know what is.

Home (2019/20)

Co-composed by Joyce To and Louis Pino

Home was composed in late 2019/early 2020 and reflects on global warming as a result of urbanisation and wasteful consumerism. The work is a reflection on the lifeline we personally place on items and aims to challenge and encourage the audience to recycle and use objects to their full potential before discarding. The visual is of a NASA released illustration of the Earth’s average global surface temperature from 1880 to 2019. The text used is from a speech delivered at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development by 12 year old, Severn Suzuki.