Join ACC's inDialogue with musicians Kit Young, Alex Peh, Ne Myo Aung, and Kyaw Kyaw Naing as they discuss their 2020 ACC Fellowship and virtual exchange: the Gitameit-SUNY Myanmar Spirit Worship Project. Artists in the U.S. and Myanmar will together explore the diversity of religious expression in Myanmar, gain practical training in traditional music technique, and learn ethnographic fieldwork skills. Watch the full recording below or on ACC's YouTube Channel. Plus, read a special blog post from Kit Young on our Stories page.
Kit Young (pianist, improviser,composer) began learning Burmese Sandaya (Burmese music played uniquely on the western piano) via cassettes in 1986, when study-travel to Burma was all but impossible. She concertized with Burmese musicians in New York and Washington, and studied with the great sandaya composer-pianists, Gita Lulin U Ko Ko and U Yee Nwe on visits from Thailand in the 1990's. While living in Yangon from 2003 to 2008, she co-founded with Burmese colleagues Gitameit Music Institute (ACC 2005, 2020) as a way of helping younger Burmese musicians navigate a creative path to music-making in a closed society with limited opportunities. Currently a resident of Washington, DC, she is an ACC alumna and director of the Gitameit-SUNY Myanmar Spirit Worship Project.
Nat Spirit Worship Ceremony in Yangon (Excerpt). Musicians and Nat Gadaw Mediums. Aung Kyaw Naing Nat Pwe.
Alex Peh (pianist) is a performer, improviser, and associate professor of music at SUNY New Paltz who explores the intersecting realms of contemporary music, improvisation and performance. He traveled to Yangon, Myanmar on an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in 2019 to study Burmese Sandaya piano style with pianist U Yee Nwe. Peh supported Burmese percussionist Kyaw Kyaw Naing, his teacher and mentor, in establishing the first Burmese ensemble in the United States at SUNY New Paltz. Peh started a trio with percussionist, Susie Ibarra (ACC 2007, 2018) and flutist, Claire Chase. Together they will release a trio album entitled Talking Gong on New Focus Records, January 2021. Peh received his musical training at Northwestern University and Indiana University where he worked with Arnaldo Cohen, Menahem Pressler, Evelyne Brancart and Sylvia Wang. He attended the Banff, Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals. Peh is currently associate chair of the music department at SUNY New Paltz.
Ne Myo Aung (Burmese Sandaya player) is a Fulbright Fellowship recipient with an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Washington. He is Dean of Gitameit Music Institute in Yangon. He is from Tamu in Chin State, Myanmar. He began his piano studies with U Moe Naing, U Thet Oo and Kit Young in 2003. Ne Myo Aung coordinated the digitalization of 3500 Burmese '78 rpm records on a grant from the American Embassy in 2009. He represents Myanmar for the Thai -ASEAN annual music festival C-ASEAN. He has arranged Burmese music for various ensembles in Europe, Myanmar and the USA. He facilitated an exchange Teaching Artist Program with the University of Washington School of Music from 2016 to 2018. Ne Myo Aung coordinates the Gitameit side of the Gitameit-SUNY Spirit Worship Project (ACC 2020).
Kyaw Kyaw Naing (Burmese classical musician, composer) is a master of the pat waing, a circle of pitched drums that is a legacy of Burmese court culture and Buddhist folk traditions. Born in Yangon, Kyaw Kyaw Naing served as director of the Burmese National Saing Orchestra from 1984-1994, and has toured internationally, performing in major venues throughout the world. He has been lauded in The New York Times as “an exhilarating tease, defying expectations of symmetry or steady tempo…” His albums include Pat Waing: The Magic Drum Circle of Burma (1998) and Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing (2011). For the first time in almost 30 years, Naing performed with a full Burmese orchestra that included twelve musicians and seven at the Asia Society in New York City, December 13, 2003. Naing performed with Western musicians for the first time with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, performing on the Bang on a Can Marathon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
Kyaw Kyaw Naing's rehearsal of his arrangement of "Ko Kyi Kyaw" with SUNY New Paltz Naing Ensemble musicians and Thin Thin Hla, dancer/singer. Naing Ensemble members: Kyaw Kyaw Naing, pat waing; Thin Thin Hla, dancer/singer; Alex Endres, six side drums; Bianca Checa, square gongs; Ryan Diener, 4 large drums; Alyson Hummer, cymbals; Mark Laaninen, circle gongs; Tim Melvin, large gongs; Noah Wurster, wood block; Lois Hicks-Wozniak, saxophone; Christiana Fortune-Reader, violin; Alex Peh, piano. Video by Dr. Lauren Meeker, ethnographic videographer.