Kai Kubota-Enright received a scholarship for composing a piano song about climate change. Submitted photo

Langley student uses scientific data to create music

Kai Kubota-Enright’s composition titled Aquas received a scholarship award.

Writing music seems to come naturally for a Langley student who now studies first-year music composition at McGill University in Montreal.

Eighteen-year-old Kai Kubota-Enright was awarded a scholarship from the international Bow Seat Ocean Awareness contest for composing a piano piece titled Aquas.

“I sometimes say, ‘I don’t live to compose, I compose to continue living.’ It’s therapeutic in that sense to make something tangible from intangible things inside myself,” Kubota-Enright elaborated.

To win the scholarship, Kubota-Enright combined two interests – music and climate change awareness.

“I was part of an environmental club in high school,” explained Kubota-Enright, who graduated from R.E. Mountain Secondary school.

“People knew I liked to compose music, so it was a good intersection to create artwork that reflects climate change.”

While living in Langley, Kubota-Enright studied music at the Langley Community Music School with Marcel Bergmann.

He started playing piano at 11, and got more involved with composition at age 13.

“It’s hard to remember when I wrote music. I’d make more and more changes to something I’d be playing until it didn’t even resemble the piece of music,” he explained.

However, the process to composing Aquas was a bit more complex.

Kubota-Enright said the most time consuming part of the composition was researching climate change data.

“I wanted it to have a tangible relation to the data-centric side of things.”

After finding a graph about climate change data that was suitable, Kubota-Enright matched the points of the graph to piano scale degrees. This process correlated the two topics together to create the melody that is threaded throughout Aquas.

“The actual composition process is very fast,” he added.

Kubota-Enright explained climate change became an interest once he began to “learn more about the realities.”

“It felt to me, as somebody who knew about this [climate change], it’s my responsibility to do whatever I can.”

In the future, Kubota-Enright is considering doing a masters in a screen scoring program.

But for now, the first-year university student is focused on adapting to life on the eastern side of Canada, and studying.

The 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest is open now until June 17 to students ages 11-18 worldwide. For more information, visit bowseat.org.

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