Ms. Okura will recieve a commission to compose a work of jazz - "Reharmoniing Identity" - to be premiered at the 7th Annual Washington Heights Jazz Festival, November 2, 2024!
The winning proposal:
In my project titled "Reharmonizing Identity," I seek to compose a suite for my jazz ensemble of two wind players, violin, and rhythm section. I will use this ensemble as a canvas to explore intricate landscape of my multifaceted and sometimes conflicting identities.
To depict this, I will delve into the concepts of dissonance and how our perception of them changes throughout a performance of a composition. My inspiration draws from the intriguing works of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor of Psychology at the College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. Kitaoka's still images possess a fascinating ability to create the illusion of movement. My project aims to investigate the nature of our perception when hearing music, questioning if I can change the perception of the same set of notes by varying different musical parameters.
Through this composition, I will experiment with a wide array of musical parameters, including intervals, harmonic tempo, counterpoint, repetitions, and registers, while keeping the same set of notes creating dissonance. My goal is to change how I treat the same sets of notes in order to make listeners hear them in a new light as if it is an illusion.
Recent years have seen the emergence of a complex facet within my identity—a facet that occasionally introduces disconcerting discord. This complexity arises from the convergence of divergent expectations imposed by external identity groupings, giving rise to internal dissonance marked by uncertainty and turmoil. My aspiration, within this context, is to embark on a journey of reharmonizing my identity—a process that does not necessitate the outright rejection of any of my cultural affiliations.
The term "reharmonizing identity" is employed here metaphorically, and it should not be misconstrued as an allusion to the reharmonization of a melody in jazz context. Instead, the purpose of this undertaking is to elucidate the intricate process of reconciling with the disharmony inherent in one's identity, akin to addressing musical dissonances. This exploration delves into strategies for altering perceptions of dissonance and, in some instances, for presenting dissonances in a manner that renders them tolerable, facilitating a state of contemplative coexistence with these inherent complexities.
This year's runners-up:
Amanda Addleman, Songs of Home
Max Bessesen, Out of Order
Previous winners:2023- Julie Maniscalco: State of Affairs2022- Jason Yeager: Upper Manahatta Musical Suite2021- Robert Fernandez: The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter