MIKE HSU: As a child of the 80's and 90's, I taught myself how to compose by mimicking the sounds of British synthpop bands such as Erasure and Depeche Mode, and Chicago house DJ's such as Julian Jumpin' Perez and Fast Eddie. I like to incorporate the rhythmic energy and layering techniques of dance music into simple classical structures, such as fugue and sonata form. 30+ years of experience playing solo violin, chamber, and orchestral music make up for my lack of formal compositional training. Classical composition tends to specialize in harmonic modulation, dynamic contrast, and motivic development, whereas alternative rock and dance music specialize in syncopation, ostinato, and fills. These latter techniques are what make rock and pop music interesting to the average listener--how else could you listen to the same 4 chords for 5 minutes straight? Naturally, I make use of those techniques when I write for classical instruments.
Three Representative Works: String Quartet No. 1, III: Potomac (2013), String Quintet in G, IV: Tempo di Dance Party (2007), Andante for Flute, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (2012)
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Oregon Connection: Board member and recording engineer for Cascadia Composers; Board member of Classical Revolution PDX; Core 1st violinist with Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra; Physician for Kaiser Permanente, Northwest