Jasmin Leung


Jasmin Leung graduated from QACI in 2012 after achieving her IB Diploma and developing a signature creative identity in Visual Arts and Music. Here is her story:

After I graduated from QACI I immediately began my degree in composition at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Griffith University). My interest in sound, noise and natural phenomena began whilst I was at QACI, and I continued to explore these ideas at university.

I was grateful for the critical thinking skills and global outlook the International Baccalaureate gave me - it was this initial spark that I accredit being able to sustain myself creatively whilst studying a classical music degree. In my third year at ‘the Con’ I went on exchange to the Academija za Gasbo at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) to study with Uroš Rojko, an experimental composer/improviser and student of Ligeti. It was in Slovenia that I became exposed to a significant collective of activists based in Eastern Europe, and the various projects, people and places this has continued to take me to have deeply affected the way I perceive my work in the world. It was in this year that I also was resident composer for the Bosnian International Music Festival (Sarajevo), where I spent a week being mentored by John Corigliano.  In 2016 I began my honours research and took extensive travels to China and Hong Kong, where I studied the music of Sichuan and Cantonese Opera. My compositions, based off intercultural improvisations and sonic phenomena were performed in Australia and China.

2017 was my first year outside of institutionalised learning. I spent most of this year in Europe, where I attended the Impuls Akademie (Austria), made extensive travels through Romania and Bulgaria in search of vocal musics, and held a residency at the Ostrava Centre for New Music (Czech) where I learnt from some amazing composers and musicians, including George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Bernhard Lang and Jennifer Walshe (just to name a few!). I was also part of the Hatched Academy program with Ensemble Offspring (Sydney), performing alongside the ensemble throughout the year, mentored by composer Cathy Milliken and culminating with a commission of a new work.

Currently I am focusing on improving my German language, with tentative plans to begin post-graduate research in Europe. I have continued to develop my practice of free improvisation, and regularly perform ‘plasmasoundflux’ erhu within the Brisbane experimental music scene. A short essay I wrote about this practice, called ‘Situational Meaning Inside Third Culture Sound’ was recently published by Glissando magazine. I am also beginning to enjoy the rewards of long-term collaboration, both with my partners in improvisation and the Music Box Project ensemble in Sydney. I have also been lucky to receive a few significant composition commissions, and have been very grateful for the opportunity to have my sonic desires realised.

A project a friend and I have been dreaming about for months has been fully funded by Regional Arts Queensland and I’m excited to begin planning. We will create an experimental children’s music ensemble in regional Queensland with an interest in Deep Listening, exploratory music, just intonation and free improvisation. I am very much looking forward to developing new work with this ensemble.

In the six years since graduating from QACI, I have been exposed to many ideas, languages and musics. Often there has been great risk and uncertainties - the instability of life in the arts, studying in foreign languages, great sacrifices and dedication to the practical and theoretical rigour of classical music study, radical readjustments of my intentions with music etc. - but also many meaningful experiences and incredible opportunities, like jam sessions with Tibetan Monks, learning from some of the world’s most influential composers, performing my work throughout Australia and overseas, the transformative and deeply human experience of creating (or observing) collectively, working with shared experiences that transcend the everyday. It is these possibilities within sound that I continue to learn.

Last reviewed 23 November 2018
Last updated 23 November 2018