As the New York season draws to the end, festivals start to arrive. One of them is the first Queens New Music Festival, which will put on 9 concerts and showcase 12 world premieres in four days (May 10 – 13).

Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony, a woodwind quintet by the New York-based Chinese composer Xinyan Li 李昕艷, is one of the pieces that will be performed.

Posted on Li’s Website:

Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony was composed in 2006. Inspired by the unique funeral customs in Mo Suo, a Chinese southwest minority, this wood quintet depicts Lama’s reciting scriptures to release souls from purgatory, Daba monks’ dancing to expel ghosts, as well as Lama’s cremating corpse which are tied up like a fetus into a wooden cage for reincarnation. I tried to create various colors and dramatic tension and express the touching emotions. In this work, winds are considered human beings’ voices that contain joy, sadness, anger, and fear etc. They cry, they laugh, they talk and they dance. In addition, this work is based on three pitches—B, C, and F, initials of Burial, Ceremony and Funeral. The first and last note both use C, which symbolize a life cycle.