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Zen in a Modern Japanese Garden

for orchestra

Year:  2006   ·  Duration:  9m
Instrumentation:  2222; 4221; timp., 2 perc; hp; strings | (Perc: gong, triangle, maracas, marimba, tub. bells, vib., bass drum, glock., xylo., wind chime, wood block)

Year:  2006
Duration:  9m
Instrumentation  2222; 4221; timp., 2 perc; ...

Jeff Lin

Composer:   Jeff Lin


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The traditional philosophy of Zen is more than keeping the mind sharp and making it aware of the environment that is surrounding it. It involves strict religious discipline, Koan study, meditation, and the spiritual guidance of a Zen master. It is a journey to search a person’s inner self, and only after a long period of training, will one be able to transcend into ‘gradual enlightenment’.

In the sense of a `Modern Japanese Garden’, Zen is more likely to reflect a ‘sudden enlightenment’. It offers not only the element of the ancient simplicity and dignity, but also displays the absolute peace of nature with a twist of a modern flavour.

The concept of the piece is a backward journey in time, and the exploring and experiencing of this unique inner path. The end of the piece does not offer complete closure; without the existence of a real destination, Zen thus blends into the essential Nature.

Performance history

01 May 2007: 2007 NZSO-SOUNZ Readings 1

26 Sep 2007: Performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at the 2007 Composers’ Workshop and conducted by Marc Taddei