Lucas Oickle is one of winners of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra Composition Competition. Although we’ve never met in person, I had heard of his accomplishments in Vancouver, composing for Chinese instruments. His work for TCO, Stargazing, has been challenging for our musicians. However, the more that we play it, the more I enjoy it! The colours and tones produced from the instruments are interesting, but when woven together, it produces a beautiful tapestry with many different textures. ~ Patty Chan
First and foremost, my thanks and appreciation to the TCO for making this all possible – and for having the initiative to foster the creation of new art music in Canada. I feel so fortunate to have received this opportunity to write something for them. There are never enough people contributing to building the arts today, and I feel that the work that the TCO is taking on is particularly important for sustaining a healthy, growing society that can actively engage with issues and questions in our world today. I believe that’s one of the many things that art should do.
I don’t have much in particular to say about the work that I’ve written – I love looking at the stars, and this piece is about light pollution, smog, and those things that otherwise obscure them. Who knows how many more generations there will be that will be able to still see the stars from Earth? It’s already impossible in many of the mega cities around the world. This is the central idea.
Why Chinese instruments? It doesn’t have to be, and I’d love to arrange this work for other instruments as well. However, my first real experience with smog was in Shanghai while visiting the then home of my parents-in-law. I remember distinctly thinking that the weather was strangely, persistently cloudy, until a few days after my arrival when I finally realized that what was blotting out the sun (the sun is a star too, of course) wasn’t natural – and that was a shocking revelation that left quite an impression on me. It isn’t only there, of course. This is a world-wide problem, found everywhere, and only becoming more extreme as time goes on. This iteration is just one of hundreds of ways to tell this particular story.
I regret that I’m not able to be at the concert. I currently live and work overseas with my wife, two cats, and our newly born daughter (4 months old at the time of writing this), so a trip back to Canada isn’t currently in the cards. However, I’m so grateful to still have chances like this to continue writing music for groups like the TCO, despite being geographically separated. I truly love writing and am always open to new collaborations. You can read a little more about my work at my website, lucasoickle.com/
So, again, thanks to the TCO, and for all of you that in turn support them.
~ Lucas Oickle