NAME: Leon Lee OCCUPATION:
student, musician, Co-Program Director of AECA and a chef (only when I am in need of income) TYPE OF ARTIST:
in short, musician or more to accurately: a collaborator
DESCRIBE YOUR WORK: My life's work
is to be able to express with clarity the valuable gift of life, it's implications on how, as humans beings, we value our
various realms (physical, spiritual, socio-political and the various realms in-between) and the responsibility of lineage
and continuum within the dynamic human process through time. (this is severely compacted, but i think it describles the just
of my process and the majority of my work) CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF YOUR TALENT: currently a
student at San Francisco State University under the advisement of Dr. Hafez Modirzadeh with the special major: Interconnectivity
of Self, Music and Culture: An interdisciplinary study of the process of music-making with emphasis on the spiritual, scientific
and anthropological connotations of sound production.
Currently lead the following musical
groups: fluteflutebassbass: structured improvisations and spontaneous compositions
utilizing the timbral and sonic palette of two double basses and two flutes. With Adam lane & Matthew Sperry on basses
and Jeff Chan and myself on flutes. San Francisco Urban Contemporary Music Ensemble aka c-bass
and jj aka Bay Area Creative Wind Ensemble: a wind sextet in the lineage of the baroque chamber
ensemble performing contemporary compositions and improvisations that restructure the Western Classical tradition by heavily
including the jazz / creative and "Third Stream" approach. An equally jazz/creative and Classical wind ensemble.
composition credits: "Hearts"
arranged for Jeff Chan's big fUn philharmonic at Oakland Asian Culture Center. May 2000 "Drones and Trances"
for electro-acoustic band performed at APAture. Oct. 1999 "Anicha: The Rising and Passing of a Moment"
performed at Venue 9 SF. Feb. 2000 and at The Luggage Store Gallery Jan. 1999 "1 + 1 + 1 = 3" music
for poetry performance performed at City College of San Francisco. Oct. 1998 "The Harmonic Tree in 'C'
for jazz combo -- A collaboration with visual artist Daniel Wood at San Jose State University. Oct. 1997 as member of
a group: flutist for Asian Crisis led by Artistic Director, Art Hirahara flutist/composer for Jeff Chan's big fUn philharmonic
WHAT SPECIFIC CHALLENGES AND/OR REWARDS
COME WITH YOUR WORK BECAUSE YOU ARE ASIAN AMERICAN? I believe that everything is a challenge and a reward as an Asian
American -- the struggle to break through the limitations of the liminal and challenge the standard of the mainstream
without sacrificing individual, collective and artistic integrity to become the mainstream. The rewards are that my intentions
are not only the good of myself but my responsiblity does not draw lines between any groups or pretenses. When moments of
clarity resonates the intention with the implementation and touches someone, it is very satisfying and gives me reasons to
DO YOU USE
THEMES OF BEING ASIAN AMERICAN IN YOUR ART? Yes, because I AM ASIAN AMERICAN!
My usage of themes aren't themes per-say.
I am inspired a lot by tradition, continuums and lineage, traditions of thought, and ways of looking at the gift of life that
refreshes or renews the perception of what it is to be alive. This is often expressed in the sacred texts, musics and traditions
of Asia, African American and other minority American experiences and traditions (ie. Tao Te Ching, Vipassana Meditation,
traditional musics of the world including the African American tradition of jazz/creative music, various sutras and scriptures
and contemporary examinations of the sacred as it is validated through western science). I draw a lot of inspirations from
concepts and a lot of my pieces are inspirations from these concepts ie. The Harmonic Tree
is a conceptual piece based on the natural overtones of any one pitch. That one pitch contains all the pitches,
some audible but most not. That is fascinating to me and I try to explore the sounds to bring out the sacred qualities within.
"Anicha" is another piece that was developed in a similar way: through 10 days of silent meditation,
this piece of music came to me as a way to manifest my perceptions of what it was to have sensations come and
go, the impermanence of it all and how I reacted in the midst of pleasant and unpleasant sensations while trying to maintain
a sense of equanimity in order to sense it all objectively in an attempt to let it go. "Anicha"
is a sound manifestation of that experience. I feel that my music IS Asian American because I AM Asian American!
That needs no qualification and I try to reach beyond that to express, in music, a reality that is often left
out of the arts, especially music.
My music is an expression of what it is to be alive:
sometimes pleasant often times unpleasant but always beautiful because an expression of life is always beautiful.
That's the idea anyway. OOps, this
ran long... thanks for the opportunity!
Leon Lee Co-Program Director, Alliance
of Emerging Creative Artists (AECA) and human being.