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NAC Orchestra Performs World Premiere Of Vivian Fung's EARWORMS


NAC Orchestra Performs World Premiere Of Vivian Fung's EARWORMS Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra has commissioned a new orchestral work, Earworms, from internationally renowned, JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung. Earworms receives its world premiere performances by the National Arts Centre Orchestra under the baton of Music Director Alexander Shelley on Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23, 2018 at 8:00PM at National Arts Centre's Southam Hall. The program also features Brahms' Symphony No. 2, and Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Russian-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg. On Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 8:00PM, the program travels to Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Of her new piece, Vivian Fung explains, "Earworms" is a feisty and whimsical orchestral piece that provides a commentary on the world we live in today - it musically depicts our diverted attention spans, our constant barrage of music and other media, and our multi-tasking lives. Since having my son almost three years ago, I have found my life to be more complicated and chaotic, but also all the richer and more meaningful. I find myself at the end of the day humming tunes that have gotten into my head and that I cannot seem to escape no matter how hard I try - hence the title Earworms."

Earworms features snippets of some of the best, most insistent, and most annoying of these tunes and combines them into a playful and quirky arrangement. These include phrases of Ravel's La Valse and Fung's son's favorite, "Wheels on the Bus," to which he has listened every day ad nauseam for the past six months. Fung worked fragments of these tunes into the piece in the way she would hear them at night - incomplete, sometimes looping, sometimes simultaneously. The piece culminates in a chaotic mash-up, with the orchestra building its force and repeating musical gestures with different, often conflicting rhythms. It ends loud and strong, as the earworms take hold of the psyche.

About Vivian Fung
JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung has a unique talent for combining idiosyncratic textures and styles into large-scale works, reflecting her multicultural background. Her work often assimilates disparate influences such as non-Western folk music, Brazilian rhythms, and visual inspirations.

During the first half of the 2017-18 season, Fung's first major work for electronics, Humanoid for solo cello and electronics premiered at the Crescent City Chamber Musical Festival and in Vancouver as part of the International Society for Contemporary Music's World New Music Days, and is soon premiering in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, and the Bay Area. The San José Chamber Orchestra recently premiered her Baroque Melting, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will give the Canadian premiere in April 2018. Fung's Clarinet Quintet: Frenetic Memories, performed by clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois and the Daedalus Quartet, premiered at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to critical acclaim and soon travels to Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Northwest. Upcoming commissions include a new orchestral work for the National Arts Centre Orchestra slated for a March 2018 premiere; a new solo percussion work for internationally renowned percussionist Aiyun Huang, commissioned by the Banff Centre; a new saxophone and piano work for the Australian HD Duo; and a new piano quartet for Ensemble Made in Canada's Mosaïque Project.

Highlights of Fung's numerous recent high-profile projects include her Violin Concerto No. 2, commissioned and premiered in 2015 by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and violinist Jonathan Crow, and Biennale Snapshots, an orchestral work that opened the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's 2015-16 season. Many distinguished artists and ensembles around the world have embraced Fung's music as part of the core repertoire, including the Alabama Symphony, American Opera Projects, Chicago Sinfonietta, Milwaukee Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, San José Chamber Orchestra, Shanghai Quartet, Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Suwon Chorale of South Korea, and Ying Quartet, to name a few. Fung's Glimpses for prepared piano has been championed by a diverse group of pianists, including Conor Hanick, Jenny Lin, Margaret Leng Tan, and Bryan Wagorn. Conductors with whom she has collaborated include Long Yu, Justin Brown, Mei-Ann Chen, Andrew Cyr, Rei Hotoda, Barbara Day Turner, Alexander Mickelthwate, Peter Oundjian, Edwin Outwater, Steven Schick, Gerard Schwarz, and Bramwell Tovey.

Fung's awards and grants include the 2015 Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award for achievement in new music from (SOCAN), a Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts' Gregory Millard Fellowship, and grants from ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, MAP Fund, American Symphony Orchestra League, American Composers Forum, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Fung's compositions have also been recorded and released commercially on the Naxos Canadian Classics, Telarc, Çedille, Innova, and Signpost labels.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, Fung began her composition studies with composer Violet Archer and received her doctorate from The Juilliard School in New York, where her mentors included David Diamond and Robert Beaser. She currently lives in California with her husband Charles Boudreau, their son Julian, and their shiba inu Mulan, and is on the faculty of Santa Clara University. For more information, please visit

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