The over and undertones are especially beautiful and pure — which decay into the earth. And there is a buzz of conversation between the instruments groups. Hard to imagine composing for instruments without hearing it occasionally played by musicians expert with those instruments. -Susan Barron, artist, NYC
(Music starts 3 about minutes in)
Nikki and I just returned from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where I was the first foreign composer and conductor to work with the Morin Khuur Ensemble, the traditional folk orchestra that is a branch of the Mongolian Philharmonic. A series of rehearsals culminated with the performance of my composition “Postcards To Mongolia” as part of “Beautiful Mongolia”, a concert by the Morin Khuur Ensemble during the Naadam Festival. The Morin Khuur Ensemble is one of the best orchestras I have ever worked with or listened to. The sense of ensemble, precision, and especially phenomenal intonation are of the highest level, comparable to any of the great ensembles in the world. It was a challenge for both the ensemble and myself to find common ground as our two very different cultures learned to work together, not to speak of the language barrier. Ultimately the music became our common ground, the universal language. The MKE performed my composition with complete authority and understanding, and I like to think that while I challenged their norms, my composition also showed some understanding of the Mongolian culture. The Music Director of the MKE told me the music evoked the Mongolian landscape for him. As I told Westword Magazine before the trip, I went with an open mind and no preset expectations. The reception of the Mongolia people and the degree of cultural exchange exceeded anything I could even dream of. As one Mongolian arts administrator commented: “Your Postcards To Mongolia? We got it!”
Unexpected highlights of our trip:
- Met with Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister and was presented with a replica statue of Morin Khuur (horse head fiddle), Mongolia’s national symbol.
- Met with the advisor to the American ambassador at the US Embassy in Ulaanbaator, commemorating 30 years of USA/Mongolia relations.
- Was made an honorary member of the Morin Khuur Ensemble and presented with official pendants and commemorative history book of MKE.
- My score of “Postcards To Mongolia” is being placed in the Mongolian national archives as a permanent part of its two thousand-plus year history.
- The concert broadcast live on Mongolian Television with repeat broadcasts following the live performance.
In a time of fractured relations and rising international tensions, we are proud as Coloradoans and Americans to have used the international language of music to promote a cultural exchange with one of the most remote corners of the globe, Mongolia.
We appreciate the help and support of the following people:
Ms. Britt Glassburn, Denver
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cooper and Mary Carter, Highlands Ranch
Scott ‘Gusty’ Christensen, sonic and audio wizard, Englewood
Mongolian Philharmonic, especially the Morin Khuur Ensemble, Erdene-Oyun Burgedee, Assistant Director
City of Ulaanbaatar (Beautiful Mongolia Concert), Sergelen Bold, Advisor
American Embassy, Ariel Wyckoff, Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Below is a link to the performance.
Thomas Blomster and Nikki Tsuchiya
Colorado Chamber Orchestra Presents:
Benefit Concert for
Douglas County Youth Orchestra
The Music Program at
Christ Episcopal Church
Nicolas Meier, Guitar. Ron Bland, Bass. Thomas Blomster, Batterie
Jazz with a Turkish Twist!
Friday, June 23, 2017 7:30 PM
Christ Episcopal Church
615 4th Street, Castle Rock, CO 80104
Suggested Donation of $20.00