A not-quite lost art

When composer Andrea Clearfield undertook her first journey to Lo Monthang, an isolated region of the Himalayas in northern Nepal, she suspected her life would change. But her experiences have become much deeper and more enriching than even she could have imagined.

Upon her return from that 2008 trek, Clearfield penned “Lung-ta, the Windhorse,” a piece which combined music, dance and visual art. When she returned last May, it was both as composer and as ethnomusicologist, with a mission to preserve the Tibetan folk songs of royal court singer Tashi Tsering, whose lack of heirs threatens the existence of this repertoire.

Some of those recordings will be incorporated into Clearfield’s new work, “Kawa Ma Gyur (The Unchanging Pillar),” along with new pieces by composers Eric Moe, Michael Djupstrom and Tony Solitro. All four will be premiered at the first concert of Network for New Music’s latest season, collectively titled “Trade Winds: New Music Explores Asia.”

“The new piece is really about change,” Clearfield says. “The area was only accessible by horse or foot when I was last there, but this trip we saw a lot of trucks coming through. So I tried to find musical metaphors to represent the pillars that stay the same and the things that change.”

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