“Audacious, compelling and hugely imaginative!” –Leo Stutzin, Huffington Post
|photo by Kevin Fry|
As the son of immigrants in America, I search for ways music connects people with the places they call home. I am blessed to call the San Francisco Bay Area home; where the mountains and water retain power alongside digital technology. This informs my songs of dislocation created to honor the ritual of people who gather to listen.
Recent highlights include TURBINE, for moving choir along the water, co-commissioned by Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club Chorus, for the 200th Anniversary of the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia and Mò Shēng 墨声 Ink Sound, for string quartet commissioned by the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.
Upcoming projects include (Be)longing, a participatory hip-hop oratorio prompted by the Virginia Tech Tragedy and Port City, commissioned by American Conservatory Theater.
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Byron Au Yong
- Artist Trust Fellowship · 2016
- New Music USA Project Grant · 2015
- Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award · 2014
- Time Warner Foundation Fellowship · 2012
- NEFA National Theatre Pilot Award · 2011
- Creative Capital Award · 2009
- MAP Fund Award · 2007
- Piano Concerto–Houston · 2014
- Welladay! Welladay! Wayward Love Songs · 2013
- Stuck Elevator Demo · 2013
- YIJU 移居 · 2012
- Farewell: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China · 2010
- Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas · 2009
- Rhythms of Change · 2009
- BreathPlay · 2007
- Dust and Sand · 2005
- Walking · 2001
- China Exchange · 1999
Byron Au Yong (歐陽良仁) composes songs of dislocation prompted by a broken lineage. Born to Chinese immigrants in Pittsburgh and raised in the Pacific Northwest, his upbringing informs a creative process where the American Dream and sustainability play vital roles. Variety calls one of Au Yong’s musicals “claustrophobic and expansive, intimate and existential, personal and political all at once.” The Seattle Weekly says that his “interdisciplinary works are as exquisite and imaginative as they are unclassifiable.” Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Au Yong creates across disciplines with an attention to the ways people connect with the places they call home.
Examples include Farewell: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China, choreographed by Donald Byrd for Spectrum Dance Theatre and Stuck Elevator, libretto by Aaron Jafferis, directed by Chay Yew, premiered at American Conservatory Theatre with performances at Long Wharf Playhouse. Multimedia installations such as Piano Concerto–Houston, for 11 pianists, commissioned by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and YIJU 移居 (to migrate) for the Jack Straw New Media Gallery combine local and global currents as well.
|photo by Brennen Smith|
International projects include Salt Lips Touching premiered outside a Confucian Temple at the Jeonju Sanjo Festival in South Korea, Edge performed at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in Germany and Forbidden Circles performed at the Fukuoka Gendai Hogaku Festival and International House of Japan. Moreover, he has worked with the top taiko ensembles in North America including Ōn Ensemble and TAIKOPROJECT. In addition, he curated the exhibition A Bridge Home: Music in the Lives of Asian Pacific Americans for the Wing Luke Museum, where he serves on a Community Advisory Committee.
Au Yong holds degrees in musical theatre writing, dance studies and music composition/theory from NYU, UCLA and the University of Washington. He has been artist-in-residence with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Center for Migration and the Global City at Rutgers University, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Montalvo Arts Center, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Westminster Choir College, Weston Playhouse, Sundance Institute Theatre Labs, Virginia Tech Center for the Arts, and Yale Institute for Music Theatre. Honors include a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, Creative Capital Award, Ford Foundation Fellowship, and Time Warner Foundation Fellowship. Internationally, Au Yong has received support from Aldeburgh Music in the UK, the Dragon Foundation in Hong Kong, the Darmstadt Institute in Germany, and Foundation Gaudeamus in Holland.
Recordings of his music are available on New World Records, Periplum and Present Sounds Recordings. His namesake comes from Lord Byron and Ouyang Xiu (歐陽脩), two poets who wrote about love. Au Yong is an Assistant Professor of Music in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.