Behind the Back

Program Notes
The musical inspiration for this piece comes from my fascination with the murals of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China. The artwork famously depicts musicians performing while dancing and flying though the air. One image – that of a woman playing pipa behind her back – is so iconic that many Chinese dancers train in order to recreate her graceful pose. Behind the Back alludes to the ceremonial atmosphere of the Mogao murals while imagining the sort of music provided by the acrobatic women depicted within – a music which incorporates passages suggestive of dance and aerial maneuvers. At all times, the virtuosity and lyricism of the pipa is the focal point.

Biographical Sketch
Timothy Roy composes music steeped in imagery and allusion, which often seeks to conjure a sense of time, place, and feeling.

His work has been presented nationally and internationally, including performances at the Music Biennale Zagreb, Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST), National Theater of Taipei, Bowling Green New Music Festival, June in Buffalo, Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, ICMC, Center of Cypriot Composers, SEAMUS, and the International Electroacoustic Music Festival of Chile, “Ai-maako.”

Timothy holds a bachelor’s degree in composition from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is currently a doctoral student at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he serves as the Teaching Fellow for the Rice Electroacoustic Music Labs (REMLABS). Timothy’s primary teachers have been Kurt Stallmann, Pierre Jalbert, Paul Rudy, James Mobberley, and Chen Yi. For more, visit

Performer Biographical Sketch
Hong Hong Hui Gianakon is currently a doctorate Music Composition student at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Born and raised in Hong Kong, a city frequently described as “East Meets West”, Hong Hong was constantly exposed to both the traditional Chinese and Western cultures. She sees herself as a bridge connecting the two cultures. She loves to explore different cultures through music. She plays pipa (a traditional Chinese plucked-string musical instrument), oud (a traditional Middle Eastern plucked-string instrument), violin, and piano. Since she moved to the United States in 2012, she has been actively introducing traditional Chinese music to Americans. She was one of the presenters at TEDxWyandotte in 2015. She was chosen to be an International Student Ambassador at UMKC in 2015-2016