Nova Pon – composer
Nova Pon’s music has been performed on four continents, published by Frederick Harris, and recorded for Naxos. A recent winner of the CMC’s Emerging Composer Competition and nominee for a Western Canadian Music Award, she has composed over 50 works across most genres, and performers and commissioners of her work have included Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Erato Ensemble, Kensington Sinfonia, Rubbing Stone Ensemble, Ensemble Resonance, Sempre la Musica and Ensemble Paramirabo. She holds degrees from University of Calgary and University of British Columbia, and continues exploring connections within music, psychology and philosophy. She is also a passionate music teacher and flutist.
Through and Out – Programme Note
I wrote Through and Out to take advantage of a chance to compose for one of my “dream team” instrument combinations: a duo of erhu and cello. Erhu is a two-string fiddle of Chinese origin that has a distinct, almost nasal, voice-like timbre and, among other idiomatic leanings, a real strength for expressive slides between pitches. To me, cello has similar vocal and sliding potential, and I tried to exploit both of their complementary qualities to evoke a process of emotional catharsis in Through and Out. The cello opens the work with a keening gesture that then becomes accompaniment to the erhu as it exposes a rueful melody. The melody is handed off to the cello to reiterate nostalgically before the opening gesture, the melody, and its motives are set into agitated motion. Through rapid progressions of expression, these materials are explored, distended, and intensified, until, spent and “all cried out,” the energy dissipates into a faint recollection of the original melody.