What is the best thing that I love about my work? To hear a music composition of mine (which often time is the result of months’ work) performed expertly and intently so to feel the intimate yet unfamiliar thrill of witnessing my creation being truly born. I love playing God!
What is my idea of perfect happiness? To lead, experience, and “normalize” — however out of ordinary it might be — a life that is honest, transcending, and free of inertia thanks to the constant deluge of creativity, even with all of the pains and humiliation it imposes upon me at times.
What is my greatest fear? Not being able to think creatively and to create.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? A habit of being inconsistent in my passion for certain things and projects.
What is my greatest extravagance? Solitude — long, quiet, desolate, 100-km-radius-with-no-trace-of-human solitude, preferably with snow or rain. Please let me know if there is such place — an artist residency or whatnot — that has a reasonably equipped abode and provision in a surroundings like this.
On what occasion would I lie? If I ever tell my lies-to-come would be rendered null.
What is the influence of role models, in my work and in my life? To remind me that I am more able than I succumb myself to subconsciously believe, that effervescence of mind, discipline, positivity, and self-love is not a thing of the past for me.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Having to write grant proposals, to prove to others that what I do means something and is very important despite what the mainstream consumeristic society wants us to believe.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? When I present the bests of my most recent music, through live performance or other means, on my “business trips” to many different places in the world.
If I could, what would I change about myself? My constantly triggered sense of guilt. To not feel guilty about virtually everything, other’s fault or mine.
What is my greatest achievement in work? It doesn’t make sense to single out an achievement of mine and call it the “greatest” when I’m still, well, young, for a composer, at least. But I can say that one of my greatest assets is my ability — inborn or learnt — to feel unapologetic about my desire to create and what I create.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I grew up in Taipei, studied in Boston, live in Los Angeles presently, and have spent some significant amount of time in certain cities in Europe, so I cannot really answer this question simply. How about : the National Theater and Concert Hall of Taipei (from the plaza to the backstages), the Brookline Booksmith in Boston (especially its used book cellar), the gardens of Le Grand Trianon at the Versailles near Paris (luckily they’ve neglected to install the blaspheming haut-parleurs in this area), the summertime Open Air Kino at Le Belluard Bollwerk in Fribourg, Switzerland (watching the newest independent or non-Hollywood films in the courtyard of a fortress), and the hills in Griffith Park in Los Angeles (where you can see the cityscape of LA at night).
What are my favorite places to eat and drink, in my city? Sasaya on Santa Monica Blvd., Szechuan Impression in Alhambra, Nomad Bistro in Long Beach, and Rocharin Thai Bistro in Seal Beach.
Who is my greatest fan? My mother.
Whom would I like to work with in the future? Many, musicians, ensembles, and artists. I can also dream about working with someone like, say, the Brothers Quay, if they discover my music and are interested in a truly interactive collaboration.
What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on? The Part II of my music theatre piece, Bonjour Minuit – a theatre of poetry, scored for three vocalists, ensemble, and electronics (an ongoing project started out in 2015). It’s an unconventional “opera” based on a long poem in double-narrative I wrote in year 2014, dealing, sonically and semantically in a poetic manner, with the slowly disintegrating post-death conscious and an ancient, magical creature undergoing ritualistic decapitation.
Mu Xuan Lin, Composer