New Music by NEC DMA Composers

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

We admire the grand vision of immigrating to Mars, but also love this vibrant blue planet. Although in the vastness of the universe, it is just a speck of dust, and human civilization's history is but a fleeting moment. Yet, in our even shorter lives, the stars and seas on Earth, the mountains, rivers, the changing seasons, the blooming and withering cycle of nature, every person and culture that inspires, every sparkling thought, every meditative moment, all resonate with our hearts and stir our creative minds. Here in this concert, we express ourselves through music...
-Lingbo Ma '24 DMA

This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here:

  1. Mathew Lanning '26 DMA | City Sinking, Harbor Rising: Jazz Concerto for the Piano (2023)

    Sunrise in the City
    Charlie on the Flooded MTA
    Big, Big, Big, Big Water
    Nature's Dominion

    Program note

    An expansive portrait of a city and its relationship with the environment, City Sinking, Harbor Rising is a jazz-style piano concerto, capturing the energy of urban Boston and its relationship with the shifting natural world it occupies. Ever since the penning of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in 1954, the composer’s signature classical-jazz fusion sound has defined the sound of the American City. City Sinking reimagines the Gershwin sound through idioms, quotes, and familiar tunes and tells the story of Boston’s past, present, and future relationships with the bay it sits upon.
    - Mathew Lanning '26 DMA

    • Mathew Lanning '26 DMA, piano
  2. Da-Yu Liu '24 DMA | Three Images on flute (2022)


    Program note

    Sillage: Life is like a trail of footprints on snow.
    Ksana: A droplet lives in a blink, but stalactites are timeless.
    Safari: Through journey in wilderness, we became what we observe, governed by the law of nature.
    - Da-Yu Liu '24 DMA

    • Anne Chao, flute
  3. Lingbo Ma '24 DMA | 心经 (The Heart Sutra) (2023)

    Program note

    心经 (The Heart Sutra) is commissioned by my pianist friend Shalun Li. Setting the text of the Chinese translation of Heart Sutra was quite a challenge for several reasons, the first one being its lengthiness and homogeneous nature. I didn’t focus much on specific word painting but rather tried to capture the overall feeling that the groups of phrases evoke. The harmonic area changes along with the text, as if the text has the power to exude different harmonies. The song opens with a diatonic piano introduction whose motive foreshadows the Mantra in the final section. The climax of the piece arrives before the Mantra, when the soprano sings the line “能除一切苦,真实不虚” The mantra can calm all suffering, should be known as truth, since there is no deception. in the high register. The piece keeps building up toward the Mantra, which represents the utmost simplicity and “truth”.
         I’m grateful for Shiyu and Shalun’s effort into this piece. Shiyu’s marvelous voice and Shalun’s meticulous attention to details have been most inspiring.
    - Lingbo Ma '24 DMA

    • Shiyu Zhuo, soprano
    • Shalun Li, piano
  4. Xiaofeng Jiang '25 DMA | the reflection of green ripples in the water... (2022)

    echoes of the fractional reflections;
    the intertwined lines of reflections' illusion and reality;
    chasing reflections.

    • Philip Rawlinson, viola
    • Lily Stern, cello
  5. Ian Wiese '23 DMA | Four Short Pieces for Piano (2021)

    Tremolos Rewrite
    Ascending and Descending

    Program note

    Four Short Pieces for Piano is both an homage to and modelled after the 1961 Four Short Pieces by my late studio teacher, John Heiss. I had the idea to follow his pieces after I had taken the time to orchestrate his 1961 and 2014 anthologies for wind quintet as a gift to him. The first movement, "Inversions," is based on inverting the same set of intervals that appear repeatedly (based on a very short improvisation that I did at the piano). It is also the shortest and most compact of the four, clocking in at only six measures. The second, "Tremolo Rewrite," as the title suggests, is a rewritten version of the tremolos concept that I had for the second movement; the first version of this piece was meandering and dull, so I cannibalized it and created this rewrite. The movement utilizes roughly the same pitch collection written as a vertical (the chords that tremolo) and a horizontal (the descending line that emerges from the chords). The third, "Ascending and Descending," mirrors the first piece in the manner of inverting the same intervals over each other, however, in this case, the intervals of a fourth and a fifth are mapped out between the white and black keys of the piano, staying mostly exclusively to one set of keys or the other. The last movement, "Chorale," imitates the chorale that forms the last of the Heiss 1961 pieces.
    - Ian Wiese '23 DMA

    • Changjin Ha, piano
  6. Tamir Shimshoni '24 DMA | Three Meditations on Love (2020)

    Program note

    The initial inspiration for these three short duets was the desire to join together two contrasting sounds, in terms of both register and timbre. What happens in the narrow range where both instruments reside? How does bright and clear flute contrast with the rougher, more earth-bound bass? Can the bass become like a flute? Does the flute deign to be more bass-like? It was only later, when I was searching for a title for this collection, that I realized what I was actually describing was love: two different people, coming together, reconciling their differences and creating a synergetic whole.
    - Tamir Shimshoni '24 DMA

    • Anne Chao, flute
    • Misha Bjerken, double bass
  7. Alexander Matheson '24 DMA | "...silici scintillam excudere..." (2024)

    Program note

    i.e., to cast, or forge, a flint-spark - taken from the Aeneid
    - Alexander Matheson

    • Natasha Wu, piano
  8. Yangfan Xu '25 DMA | Jungle Sway (2023)

    Program note

    I was exploring the border between grassland and jungle. The humid and sultry atmosphere of a summer night is mixed with the fragrance of nature, and the night has blurred the borderline between the grassland and the jungle that was already hazy. I saw brilliant shooting stars. Some colorful bright spots suddenly appeared on the horizon, as if the starry sky had been printed on the ground. The bright spots continued to twinkle, with shooting stars and fireworks in between. When I was fascinated, an elephant and two baby elephants suddenly pushed me to run. I didn't know what was going on, so I began running. I couldn't tell whether it was the jungle trees or the tall grass pushed away by the elephant and the baby elephants in front of me. After a while, I found a mudslide behind us. The elephants assisted me in safely reaching a small rocky mound. The elephants became exhausted. They lay down and rolled around. I thanked them for saving me by touching their heads and noses. I went to the nearby tropical rainforest to pick some leaves and dew to feed the elephants, and then I used the rest of the leaves as a quilt to cover and sleep. The jungle hotel where I used to stay, as well as the entire jungle town, had been completely destroyed, and the night had suddenly become so peaceful and quiet. I had since become a jungle wanderer. A week later, on another summer night, I was kidnapped by a group of men dressed as future cops. They put me on a cyberpunk train, and I didn’t know where we were about to go.
    - Yangfan Xu '25 DMA, (a dream on Oct. 3, 2022)

    • Cole Turkel, clarinet
    • K. J. McDonald, violin
    • Sophia Knappe, cello
    • Shaylen Joos, harp
    • Danial Kukuk, percussion