I had first met Matthew during the Toronto Chinese Orchestra’s Conducting Competition in 2015. I was very impressed by his professionalism and boundless energy. After winning the competition, I invited him to join TCO and he has become a wonderful addition to our family. He has dedicated much time and effort to build us up musically and to also gather us closer together. Indeed, since he has joined, we’ve been having weekly post-rehearsal gatherings over dumplings and noodles!
I am sometimes asked why I do music. It is a question I find myself asking as well. After all, music is so indescribable. It moves us—emotionally, socially, even physically—in ways we barely understand. Yet here I am, with my preference for defined analytical categories and a clinical detachment to the field. I wonder if I have the excitement required to be a musician.
But there is indeed something exciting about what we are doing here in the Toronto Chinese Orchestra! Some of it I can find in any music group: a piece comes together like a well-oiled machine, or we discover something together in the music, or we feel satisfied at the end of a productive rehearsal. But some of this is more specific, and I find this in few other places: we push at the boundaries of what is considered “Chinese music,” and create our own identity as a Chinese orchestra in Toronto. We dare, dream, and explore.
I hope you will feel the same excitement when you attend “New Horizons.” Some of the music will be challenging to hear, so I do not ask you to come only to enjoy yourself. That would be too easy. I offer you more: come and be transformed. Dare, dream, and explore with us.