As a female composer brought up in India and Hong Kong with a love of wilderness, surfing and diving, issues of feminism, women in the arts, environmental awareness and cultural diversity are cornerstones of my work. Through pre/post-concert talks, articles and interviews, I work for and speak about the following issues:
The importance of listening to women’s voices
Women’s stories, women’s experiences, our challenges and voices have historically been shamefully underrepresented in the public arena. Art and music give us a powerful tool to make stories of the unheard heard.
Music as a unifying social force – a way to bring people together to create hope and change
How do we harness the visceral, powerful experience of making music to improve our societies and communities? Can music be a tool in building respect and understanding between people with divergent views, cultures, experiences?
Finding authentic expressions of cultural diversity
How can we bring elements of style, of tradition, philosophy from other cultures into our work in a way that is both authentic and respectful? Is there a difference between an authentic fusion of elements and musical orientalism? Is it something we should think or worry about in the process of creating?
The critical need to provide education and opportunities for girls worldwide
The value of art and music in our contemporary world
We live in a society where classical music is further and further from the mainstream, where the audience for contemporary classical is the tiniest of niches. Beyond our own enjoyment, how do we justify and support our work? Does it have value compared to multi-platinum hits generated via algorithms? When digital processing can make anyone sound like an acceptable singer, what is the value in striving for the craft, skill and dedication our work requires?
STEM and arts education must go hand in hand
I’m a firm believer that creating any kind of positive change starts with creating opportunities for young people to become informed, educated, critical and creative thinkers. And some of the most effective training for this comes from a combination of arts with sciences. Our communities thrive on entrepreneurship, critical analysis and creative problem solving in every discipline – arts and music education are often overlooked but critical parts of this equation.
The desperate need for us to work to preserve wilderness
Some recent interviews that include discussion of these topics include: