“Reincarnation Suite” – Marko Koumoulas (Toronto) 7’15”
for sheng, erhu, zheng, yangqin, percussion (wind chimes, xiaogu, huapengu)
The composition itself is divided into 6 movements. One movement is repeated with variations. Each movement represents a new reincarnation:
Movement 1 is considered the introduction of the piece. It introduces a theme that is played throughout the entire piece. This ultimately gives each movement a sense of continuity. There are also a few minor themes weaved between the movements.
Movement 2 represents the beginning of the “journey”. The reincarnation can be any sort of traveller, or perhaps an animal, migrating to new areas. What is important is that this movement is a transition of what is to come.
Movement 3 represents the reincarnation of a farmer. This is shown in the music by the many ostinato figures that keep piling up. This is supposed to represent the gruelling, often repetitive, work a farmer has to do on a daily basis.
In movement 4, the music immediately changes pace into a fast and heroic theme. This movement represents the reincarnation of a warrior. A particular technique is played by the erhu, which gives off the sound of a horse neighing. This technique allows the listener to visualize the scene more clearly.
Movement 5 switches keys and represents the reincarnation of a butterfly. This movement is very expressive and is the only movement that is played fully in a major key.
The piece ends the way it began to symbolize a full cycle. This can be interpreted in many ways.
Marko Koumoulas is a young and versatile musician known for his unique innovation, creativity, and intriguing compositions. Known primarily as a composer, Marko is also a multi-instrumentalist and aspiring ethnomusicologist. He has many years of experience playing bass, guitar, saxophone, and the didgeridoo.
Marko’s exposure to a wide variety of musical genres and traditions has provided him with a unique perspective on compositional elements and styles. Growing up in a Greek household, Marko was introduced to music from the Balkans and the Middle East from an early age. Unbeknownst to him, this exposure to odd metres, quarter tones and traditional song forms would become the foundation of Marko’s musical sound.
Completing an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from York University in 2014, Marko has had the privilege of studying composition and musical performance under Matt Brubeck, Barry Elmes, Al Henderson, Lorne Lofsky, and many more. His interest in the didgeridoo has developed into a deeper appreciation of Aboriginal culture and music. Currently pursuing a Master’s of Composition at York University, Marko’s thesis is focusing on developing the first lexicon notation of the didgeridoo. During this process, Marko has been working with world-renowned Australian Aboriginal didgeridoo player, David Hudson, who is known for his work with Greek composer, Yanni.
Combining their mutual passion for film music, Marko and his childhood friend Matthew Chung began the formation of their company, ScoreSound. One of his notable works includes the film The Dishwasher, where he had the privilege of working with Canadian singer-songwriter Alexz Johnson. Seeing critical acclaim from festivals throughout the world, The Dishwasher was nominated for Best Score at the Kerry Film Festival in Ireland and most recently, at the 2017 Leo Awards in Vancouver.
Marko’s interest in world cultures and music led him to an opportunity composing for traditional Chinese instruments. His piece “Reincarnation Suite” was one of the five scores chosen Canada-wide by the Toronto Dim Sum Ensemble, it premiered on November 16th, 2014. Marko has also had the privilege of writing for local high school jazz orchestras. His first piece “One Way Ticket” was premiered on December 16th, 2014.