Tajuddin, Tazul Izan (1969-)
Tazul Izan Tajuddin was born in Malaysia. He studied music at the Universiti Teknologi MARA (Malaysia) and later studied composition at Carnegie Mellon University (USA) and graduated with a Master's in Music Composition in 1996. He completed his doctorate in composition at the University of Sussex in 2002. His music, such as the “Arabesque” and “Tenunan” cycles, has been inspired by Eastern cultures, especially Malay and Indonesian, and Islamic geometrical patterns, combined with multi-cultural contemporary ideals.
His teachers included Leonardo Balada, Juan Pablo Izquierdo, Martin Butler, Jonathan Harvey, Michael Finnissy, Franco Donatoni (Manuel de Falla Festival in Spain), and consultations with Brian Ferneyhough (at IRCAM 2001 in Paris) and meetings with Iannis Xenakis in Pittsburgh and New York. In 1999, he received encouragement from Henri Dutilleux who described him as “a very gifted composer” whose music “reveals a daring personality, both rigorous and innovative in spirit”.
In 2003 his works were performed at the Asian Music Festival and also he was invited by Toshio Hosokawa to the Takefu International Music Festival in Japan.
Aside from the first prize of the Molinari Quartet's Second International Composition Competition, he won first prize in the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2002 (Joji Yuasa: jury), first prize in the 8th Tokyo International Competition for Chamber Music Composition 2003, first prize in the 21st Japan Society of Contemporary Award 2004 and won the New Millennium Composition Award 2005 (Birmingham Conservatory). He also was finalist in the Edvard Grieg Composition Competition 2000 and the Derek Shiel Sound Sculpture Composition Competition 2001.
Shortlisted by the British Society for Promotion of New Music, Tazul was composer-in-residence in their Adopt a Composer Scheme 2002/03 with Hertford Symphony Orchestra. His works have been performed in Asia, Europe, Australasia and North America by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Carnegie Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian National Choir and Orchestra, Alter Ego (Italy), Art Respirant (Japan), among others, and broadcasts in Japan, Spain, the UK, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. In 2005, a short piano piece will be published by ABRSM/Oxford University Press and another piano work will be premiered at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge University.
Mr. Tajuddin has also conducted his own works and currently lives in London.
Mediasi Ukiran - Tenunan VIII (2004)
The title “Mediasi Ukiran” is in Malay, meaning mediation of ornament, after a book by Oleg Grabar (a leading scholar in Islamic art). It is in Malay specifically to reflect the influence of my cultural background. There are two main sources of inspiration for these works: one is Indo-Malay culture, and the other, Islamic architectural and geometrical art. The works are written for Western instruments, though the concepts of sound, composition (organisation of materials) and notation combine Eastern and Western ideas.
The word “Tenunan” is derived from Malay words meaning weave. However a closer translation of the word would be a piece of woven material. The piece is textural writing, where all elements brought together, including pitches, playing techniques, dynamics, tempis and overall balance are interwoven to make a piece of woven sonority or “sound fabric”.
The piece is structured with 5 series of notes and 7 series of numbers. These series of notes and numbers are distributed throughout the piece and woven into its 28 small sections. The series of pitches are transposed from low to high register, while some are dislocated in register. There are also chromatic gestures and selected intervals (particularly the minor second) which are used as decoration and embellishment. The sound should always be continuous and in constant flux, and the string sonority be delicate and evanescent.
The piece starts with a sharp attack, resembling the word Kebyar (as in Gamelan Gong Kebyar) which means to “flare up suddenly, to burst open”. Therefore with the initial attack the sound flares up and bursts open, releasing all the patterns which are intricately woven, integrating with one another.
Throughout the piece, the rhythmic patterns are organized randomly to create constant unpredictability in time. With the random organisation, the patterns are created organically and with the sense of “rasa” (a Sanskrit word used in Malay), a sense of feeling and imagination within the rhythmic patterns, in the spirit of composing.
This work was written specifically for the Molinari Quartet's Second International Competition for Composition 2004 and is dedicated to Henri Dutilleux for his encouragement.
Tazul Izan Tajuddin