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Musicians and Dancers in New York Take Part in Weiwuying Relay Challenge of Bach's Music
The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), Taiwan(衛武營國家藝術文化中心 )initiated an on-line “Music Playing of Musical Offering” project on April 3(Taiwan Time), inviting musicians and performers, whether in Taiwan or from overseas to take part in this music relay challenge.

Several musicians and performers, living in or associated with New York City when now the city has become the epicenter of Coronavirus Pandemic in America, choose to respond to the relay challenge with passionate energy, and create variations of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Musical Offering (BWV 1079).”, with uploading video clips of them playing either the whole piece or an excerpt in its original form or in their own arrangement on their Facebook.

Taiwanese Vibraphonist/ Composer Yuhan Su(蘇郁涵), collaborating with her good friends, pianist Yuying Hsu(許郁瑛) and visual artist, Nung Hsin Hu made an outstanding video, which is a “Canones Diversi by Bach literally after night-n-day’s efforts” The three partners finished this piece together, while they are actually living separately in New York, Los Angeles and Taiwan. Yuhan said, “It has been a lovely/ intense experience producing this video with the help and love from my musical sister Yuying and great friend visual artist NungHsin, also thanks Betsy for the mixing. It reminds me no matter where our body stuck at, our mind, music soul, still can flow, share, and deliver.”

Janet Yieh(葉懷真), organist and Isabel Ong(翁馨怡), violinist did likewise, they created their version of Bach’s Trio Sonata I. Largo, BWV 1079, playing their own instruments at their homes in New York and South Carolina. On the contrary, Hsin-Yun Huang (黃心芸), who now serves on the faculties of Juilliard and Curtis, was able to play “really together” a version of Bach with her husband Misha Amory, violinist of Brentano String Quartet and their son Lucas, pianist at their home in New York City.

Dancer I-Ling Liu (劉奕伶), living and working in New York City, accepted the challenge from her friend, Ya Ting Chang(張雅婷), who is the first one taking the challenge as a dancer in Taiwan. They both used the original version of Bach’s Music offering as background music to choreograph. I-Ling’s dance incorporated with her daily life and makes the whole video truly represents a stay-at-home reality as a New Yorker at this time.

Having been a New Yorker himself, the founder/ bandleader Vincent Hsu (徐崇育) launched his musical career in New York City. The Vicent Hsu & Soy La Ley Afro-Cuban Jazz Band(徐崇育 & Soy La Ley 古巴爵士樂團), which performed their world premier “Hola Pops! The Latin Side of Louis Armstrong”last year in New York, also took up the relay challenge and posted their version of Bach with Afro-Chuban Jazz style on Facebook. 

The whole relay challenge brings the courage for peopel at this pandemic time to imagine the otherwise, adding color to all our life now. Like what the Weiwuying General and Artistic Director Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) said, "Although we may be unable to perform on stage, we can still spread our thoughts on music through the Internet,” arts continue in its own way.

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“Tribeca Talk: At Home” Gives A Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse of Taiwanese VR Film “HOME”
While the pandemic has brought film industry to a screeching halt, Tribeca Film Festival took a bold move on the fly by launching its 15 Cinema360 films online. The lineup included a Taiwanese VR film “Home,” which was categorized into “Kinfolk” program.

On April 23rd, Loren Hammonds, TFF Senior Programmer of Film and Immersive, moderated a virtual panel discussion with innovative creators behind “Kinfolk” program for a special conversation on their work and the meaning of nostalgia, home, and family. Hammonds also mentioned as of the date, the program earned over 2,000 views – a number that the physical event could not even had in an entire week of showing the same pieces. Therefore, he gave special thanks to all the creators who had agreed to share their brilliant works with global audiences via the online platform.

The panel members include director Ainslee Robson of “Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir In VR,” director Diego Kompel of “The Inhabited House"; representing director HSU Chih-yen for his moive “Home”, the international coordinator KUO Min-Wei from Kaohsiung VR Film Lab, said that the film was shot in HSU’s grandparent house several months after his grandmother passed away. However, the property had been returned to the government since the house is located in a military dependent village. The production team needed to get the permission in advance for shooting a film in the house, and then moved all the furniture - collected and well preserved by HSU’s uncles - back to recreate the old home, where the director and his family members have had a lots of memories. Hammonds added that “You can feel reality and comfortability out of the film, and part of that is because of a mixture of actors and HSU’s real family members in the film. ‘Home’ is kind of a hybrid docufiction, which is interesting.”

KUO pointed out that Kaohsiung VR Film Lab has collaborated with Taiwanese filmmakers to create five original VR works annually. “Home” was one of the projects supported by the lab. She also added it was the lab that approached HSU initially, and the story HSU pitched came as a surprise given that HSU’s previous works, such as music videos and commercials, are quite trendy, even a little quirky, and his first feature “Dear Ex” is a romantic drama movie. In contrast, “Home” is a story based on HSU’s personal family experience with a heartwarming presentation. Moreover, during his pitch, HSU already adeptly utilized the concept of Immersive technology even though he had never worked with it before, KUO recalled. “Home” is a 17-minute continuous-shot film of a family reunion in Taiwan, with all shots from the perspective of a great-grandmother sitting in her wheelchair. The film offers a rare glimpse into a way of life that seems truly authentic and caring.

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Taiwanese artists win seven Independent Music Awards
Winners of the 18th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) in the U.S. were announced on April 28(EST). The 18th IMAs canceled this year’s live ceremony, and instead Tuesday announced the year’s best self-released and indie label projects online.

This year’s winning projects were culled from thousands of Album, EP, Song, Producer, Music Video and Visual Design submissions from 73 countries on 6 continents; Nominees were announced earlier this year.

Out of 16 nominations, Taiwanese composer, Jazz band, Indie bands, and visual designers have won 7 awards.

The Taiwanese artists four-man metal band FUTURE AFTER A SECOND, which won the award for best metal/hardcore song with "Invert."Jazz band Skyline's album, Symphojazz, won in the live performance category, while composer Ian Chen received the award for best film/TV/game score for his original soundtrack to the Fantastic Creatures game.
A-Flight, which produced the audio for a short film promoting Taiwan's 2019 Golden Bell Awards.

Taiwanese artist shines in the design category. Li Jheng-han, Chen Hsin-hung and Tai Hsiao-yin won best album packaging for Emerge House Band's album "Time." Ye Fong-yau won in the artist concert photo category for his work with Japanese punk band Brahman at the Fireball Festival, while Ji Chen-chi's work at Taiwanese indie band Amazing Show's "The Great Paradisiacal Mountain" concert won in the music promo poster category.

“The world needs to hear from independent artists now more than ever. We didn’t want to keep it waiting”, said The Independent Music Awards Executive Director Martin Folkman. The IMAs would make an ongoing, online showcase for the winners 2020 later this year.

To see the completed winners list:

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