For Vincent Chin (2017)

for flute and violin

[Score | Video]

Commissioned and performed by Access Contemporary Music for the Golden Triangle in Chicago, IL for Open House Chicago 2017

performed by Dahlia Chin and Arianne Urban

Program Notes:

For Vincent Chin was commissioned by Access Contemporary Music for the Golden Triangle in Chicago, IL for Open House Chicago, an annual architecture festival.  On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin was beaten with a baseball bat by Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz.  Because they mistakenly thought Vincent, a Chinese American, was Japanese, Ebens and Nitz accosted Chin at a club in Highland Park, Michigan.  Vincent was at the club for his bachelor party.  After a heated exchange, Ebens and Nitz searched for 30 minutes, eventually tracking Chin to a nearby McDonalds parking lot.  With no escape, Ebens and Nitz bludgeoned Chin nearly to death.  After four days in a coma, Vincent died on June 23, 1982 - four before his wedding.  Initially, Ebens and Nitz were given no jail time, but rather three months of probation and a fine of $3,000.  By 1987 all charges against Ebens and Nitz were cleared.

Considered the beginning of the pan-ethnic Asian American movment, the murder of Vincent Chin has become a rallying point for the Asian American community.  Realizing that we all face similar oppression, Asian Americans have become more and more unified.  Unfortunately, tragedies such as the murder of Vincent Chin are often catalysts for change.  Vincent Chin's murder was not the first, nor will it be the last, anti-Asian hate crime.  As a first generation Filipino-American, I see acts of racism, everyday.

For Vincent Chin is not somber, in tone, however.  Through timbral exploration, For Vincent Chin evokes a reverent tranquility.  Attempting to find peace, For Vincent Chin investigates the tone/noise spectrum, searching for balance.  Sonorities moan and timbres crack before settling.  I find no better place to premiere this work than the Golden Triangle, an inviting space full of pan-ethnic, Asian antiques and artifacts that reminds us of the history that must be preserved and the new life that comes from such memories.