I’ve always been amazed by music’s the awesome power to make our mind travel through time and space, and to stimulate our imagination to understand other cultures in a way that’s completely intuitive and universal. As a composer, I’m influenced by both Chinese and American cultures, and I want my music to be a mosaic of those influences. In Night-Shining White, a short work for The Empire Brass commissioned by Colgate University, the inspiration came from a Chinese painting about a horse of the same name. Night-Shining White was said to be a loyal companion to Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty of China (618-907), and supposedly had a luminous moon-white coat. The emperor loved it so much that he commissioned renowned painter Han Gan to create a portrait of the horse, which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is considered one of the greatest paintings of the dynasty. I was drawn to the expressiveness and liveliness of the painting. (Coincidentally, I was lecturing about the Tang Dynasty in my Core China course at Colgate as I was composing the piece.) As a piece of music, I thought that the dark color of the brass quintet would create a fitting soundscape to express muscularity as well as lyricism.