Moon Ha

composer / performer / researcher

ABOUT

Moon Ha, an artist and researcher based in New York, utilizes a diverse range of tools and technologies—from traditional musical instruments and found objects to computers and handmade electronics—to create intricate soundscapes and music. While the combination of technology and music is not novel, what distinguishes his creative practice and current research is his exploration of approaches to music and sustainability, addressing crucial issues such as consumption, pollution, accessibility, and the overall stability of art and music creation. Recent projects underscore his commitment to sustainability, employing recycled and repurposed materials to craft new music and sound works. The focus on employing both new and “obsolete” audio technologies forms the backbone of his creative spectrum, which spans from traditional musical scores to intricate sound installations.

One of Moon’s recent works, “Coming Home” (2023), a collaboration with Montreal-based visual artist Jinjoo Yang, features a 4-channel video, amplified percussion, and surround live audio. This project, funded by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Conseil des arts de Montréal, draws inspiration from the museum’s reserves collection. Following his recycling principle, Moon constructed oscillators using salvaged NPN transistors from discarded circuits, along with other passive components such as capacitors, inductors, and resistors, instead of using a commercial synthesizer. The recycling and handcrafting processes hold significance for him, as the delicate handmade oscillators alter the experience of composition, recording, and performance, resulting in sounds often unattainable by commercial instruments, despite their consistent frequencies and ease of operation.

As a leading contemporary musician, Moon has played a pivotal role as the founding Artistic Director/CEO of ensemble mise-en since its inception in 2011. Actively shaping the landscape of new music, he has spearheaded initiatives that champion composers and musicians from diverse backgrounds. The MISE-EN FESTIVAL, which he has created and hosted since 2014, receives over 1600 submissions from composers worldwide each year and has been recognized as the most open and important outlet for “examining unusual corners of the composition world” (NYTimes).

As a conductor and performer, Moon has led ensemble mise-en in both domestic and international performances. Furthermore, Moon’s compositions have been featured in esteemed festivals such as the International Computer Music Conference, Bang On A Can Marathon, and Gaida Festival. Renowned ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, orkest de ereprijs, JACK and Mivos quartets, and Iktus Percussion Ensemble, among others, have brought his compositions to life.

+After the final concert, captured a moment with Principles of Composition course students at New York University alongside the resident ensemble un-heard//of ensemble and percussionist Josh Perry.

Moon Ha embarked on his musical journey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in Composition. His academic pursuits continued at New York University, where he obtained a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in Music. Currently, he shares his musical knowledge by teaching theory and composition at New York University, where he founded the New York University Laptop Orchestra (new_LOrk) to explore new possibilities with new technologies alongside his students.