Showing posts with label CD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CD. Show all posts

Piano Concerto

Media Installation
audio surround, projection mapping sculpture, video portraits
Playing the piano can oftentimes be lonely. Recognizing this, composer Byron Au Yong and artist Susie J. Lee gather pianists to share stories. Thinking about the concerto as a form for a soloist and ensemble, Au Yong and Lee consider each pianist as a soloist and an ensemble member.

Lee films the pianists. Au Yong provides an open notation Piano Concerto score. 11 pianists rehearse together, then record. This results in an intimate installation of solo video portraits and an ensemble audio sculpture.
Video Portrait Excerpts
Duration: variable
Instrumentation: concert grand piano
Installation: 4-channel audio installation with 4-channel video projection; one HDTV video portrait
Commissioned by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, 2014

Premiered at the CounterCurrent Festival, Bermac Arts Center, April 2014
Video portraits shown at:
· (Im)materiel, Headlands Center for the Arts, January/February 2015
· New Strands Festival, American Conservatory Theatre, January 2016

Video: Media Sculpture

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer and co-creator
Susie J. Lee, social sculptor and co-creator

Soyoung Shin, cinematographer, photographer
Will Gibbs, technical director
Afshin Farzadfar, recording engineer
Robb Kunz, audio mastering
Jared Bender, sculpture fabrication
Joe Freeman, photographer

Houston Pianists
Sonya Bandouil · Jason Castaneda · Stephen Fierros · Lisa E. Harris · Timothy Hester · Darrell Jenkins · Saun Cheng Lee · Andreea Mut · Robert Rhodes · Linda Singer · Jenni Rebecca Stephenson


Press Quote
“In January, they found 11 Houston musicians of varying abilities and styles to play Au Yong’s concerto, including a professor of piano at the Moores School of Music, a lawyer who played to support himself through school and still keeps a piano in one of his three offices, an opera singer who plays improvisationally, and a brother and sister who have played piano since they were children, but not professionally.”
Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle
Piano Concerto–Houston
  • February/March: Individual Interviews of pianists in their home or studio
  • March: Public Gathering with all 11 participants to meet, share stories & rehearse
  • March: Audio/Video Recording of pianist portraits
  • April: Installation presented at the Mitchell Center for the Arts CounterCurrent Festival
Byron Au Yong and Susie Lee
Susie J. Lee and Byron Au Yong · Photo © 2014 by Joe Freeman
Special Thanks
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Karen Farber, Frye Art Museum, David Garcia, Katrina Hess, Kerry Inman, LD Systems, Tiffany Lin, Kimball McMahan, Bryan Miller, Frank Minoru Phillips, MicroSearch Pro Video Sales & Rental, Moores School of Music, Nicole Romano, Tom Stiles, Chris Strompolos, Teruhiko Toda, Margret Truax, University of Houston, Rick Valentine, Emily C. Watts

Welladay! Welladay!

Wayward Love Songs
ceremonial music for voice(s), piano trio, artists

“New songs from the exquisite and off-kilter mind of composer Byron Au Yong.” —Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly

Welladay! Welladay! Wayward Love Songs sweeps through 36 poems by James Joyce, published in a collection called Chamber Music in 1907. Despite the exclamation points in the title, Welladay! Welladay! is a quiet work. The intimate, variable music nods to love as well as the orphans and unwed mothers who lived in Seattle’s Good Shepherd Center from 1907 to 1973. Crumpled letters and laundered bed sheets provide touchstones for the performance.

Audio Excerpts

available on Bandcamp

Duration: circa one hour
Commissioned and presented by Nonsequitur
Premiered at Chapel Performance Space in Seattle, October 2013
Performed at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, April 2016

Score (Buy Sheet Music)

Musical Sections
1 all softly playing
2 ring-around in glee
3 sweetly, gently, secretly
4 made tremulous
5 lightly, lightly... ever so
6 after the whirling

6 love at first is all afraid
5 she is a stranger to me now
4 be at peace again
3 walk together
2 lay aside sadness and sing
1 speak to your heart

Creative Team
Betsy Baeskens Giri, voice
Tari Nelson-Zagar, violin
Lori Goldston, cello
Tiffany Lin, piano
Bianca Ana Chavez, artist
Linda Ando, project manager
Susie J Lee, pre-show video

Special Thanks
Anthony Farin, Frye Art Museum, Jen Graves, greencitypix, Historic Seattle, Vivian Huang, Soyon Im, InterIm Community Development Association, Paul Kikuchi, Wes Kim, Michelle Kumata, Alan Lau, Leslie Morishita, Nelly Schaffner, Szymek Zaleski

Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden

inspired by classical Chinese gardens, John Cage and the occupy movement

Audio Excerpt

available at Bandcamp

Duration c. 9-15 minutes
Instrumentation variable (winds, brass, percussion, strings, other)
Site-responsive work written for the Chicago Composers Orchestra and audience
Performed at Garfield Park Conservatory (Chicago IL) January 2013

Program Notes
“The emotions—love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust—are in the audience.” John Cage

Walk the zigzag path into a Chinese garden where jagged rocks, misty lakes and meandering walls welcome you. Walk the crowded pavement into a general assembly of the occupy movement where idealistic students, homeless parents and concerned citizens welcome you. We gather here/hear now in the Chinese garden and general assembly of our imaginations.

You can listen. You can watch. You can rustle your papers, walk around the garden, record the event and chant your phrase. This is y/our space. This is y/our time. We shall gather all around, finding power in our sound.

Welcome to Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden
  • Sarah van Gelder, This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street & the 99% movement, 2011.
  • John Cage, Silence: Lectures & Writings, 1961.
  • Ji Cheng (计成), The Craft of Gardens (园冶), 1631.
Press Quote
“As I wandered among the musicians and plants, I noticed how many people were capturing the moment. Photographers, mostly. Professional, a lot of them, with sacks and bags and oversized equipment sometimes with the labels of whatever storeroom or newspaper, magazine checkout space they borrowed the damn thing from.

There were a lot of the individual cell phone camera types who can’t look at the world without recording it. Even me, with my little dictaphone, the little Olympus that’s lasted five years and sixty dollars.

Maybe that’s what music is now. Performance has turned from an arrow to a circle.”

Paul Dailing, 1,001 Chicago Afternoons, January 2013

available at Bandcamp


“An orrery of memory, an attempt to chart the composer's recollections and speculations about his musician grandfather who emigrated from China in the 1930s. What kind of music might they have made together?” —Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger

Audio Excerpts

available at Amazon | CD Baby | iTunes

Songs of Dislocation
A vast number of Chinese – more than 40 million – live outside of their ancestral homeland. In North America, the influx of this diaspora is mixing and adapting its cultural heritage in New York (665,714), San Francisco (562,355), Toronto (486,300) and Vancouver (402,000).

With “Yiju,” Mandarin for “to migrate,” Present Sounds Recordings and composer Byron Au Yong offer an album of music both intimate and cinematic, humorous and contemplative, combining Au Yong’s broken musical lineage with a nod to the avant garde. “As the only composer in a family of overseas Chinese, it is with regret that I never studied music with my grandfather," he says.

“On this album, I devoted myself to assembling songs of dislocation – of memory and imagination. I hope listeners find moments to laugh, as well as reflect about migration, travel and their relationship to China.”

Selected track insights
  • Daughter 女儿: “My grandparents fled China in 1938, leaving my first aunt. I wonder what lullaby my grandmother would have sung to the daughter they left behind.”
  • Two Knives 两把刀: “In the 1940s, my grandfather was captured by Japanese soldiers. He pretended to be a farmer and joked with the soldiers until he was able to escape. They would have killed him if they knew he started the first Chinese school in the Mindanao Mountains of the Philippines.”
  • A Man Is Falling 摔倒的人: “I used to think that migration was horizontal. After 9/11, I began to think of migration as vertical – of ancestors falling through the sky and landing on unsuspecting progeny. The news rarely covers family stories turned on their heads.”

Praise for ‘Yiju’
“Yiju is at times haunting and at times a rich cacophony of textures and emotion. It’s music for quiet, contemplative time. Each time I listen I hear something new.”
– Mary Coss, artist

“I don't know of any other contemporary work that both embraces and subverts its sentimentality to such compelling effect. I loved the way it unfolded, song by song, with each new piece catching me off guard, even as it evolved its themes and motifs.”
– Aaron Landsman, playwright
Creative team
“Yiju 移居,” Byron Au Yong’s fourth album, features performances by musicians Karen Akada, Au Yong, Marc Collins, Marc delaCruz, Jessika Kenney, Gina Sala, Aiko Shimada and James Whetzel singing and playing er-hu (Chinese fiddle), string bass, drums, paper, chopsticks, cymbals and water gongs. “Yiju” was recorded by audio engineer Steve Ditore as part of a Jack Straw New Media Gallery residency in Seattle. Album design by Wing Fong.

Other albums by Byron Au Yong
YIJU 移居 One Sheet (PDF)
Released by Present Sounds Recordings, 2012

The First Steps

available at

Bob Hicks, a writer for Art Scatter, posted a blog entry about an initial meeting for Portland Taiko's upcoming Ten Tiny Taiko Dances. He wrote:
Byron Au Yong, the Seattle composer who’s worked with Portland Taiko before, arrives with a score already in hand. He passes copies around the circle: it’s elegant, intricate notation.
I'm excited about Fifteen for violin and taiko to be premiered June 19-20, at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. The work is in 15 sections; each section should last for an eternity. Practically, each section lasts from 15 seconds to 5 sets of 15 seconds.

Previously, Hicks attended a recording session for Portland Taiko's CD Rhythms of Change. His in-depth writing included a section about my conducting Michelle Fujii's work for violin and taiko called Slipping Through My Fingers:
The drummers are following the violinist, but they can’t hear her. They’re looking for compensating visual cues, and they’re a flick late. So Fujii asks Byron Au Yong, a Seattle-based composer who works internationally and has collaborated with several taiko groups, to stand out in the auditorium where everyone can see him. From a few rows up, he patiently motions entrances and keeps the beat: It’s all in the timing.
I'm excited to hear how Fujii and violinist Keiko Araki will interpret Fifteen, where the music is timeless, yet nonetheless timing is important.

Farewell: a fantastical contemplation on America’s relationship with China

Dance Music
for voices, er-hu, cello, percussion, bicycle wheels, cassette tape players, soundtrack

“... hyper-frenetic sound score by Byron Au Yong.” —CityArts Magazine

Farewell: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China is a dance-music-theater work created by Donald Byrd and Spectrum Dance Theatre. Composer Byron Au Yong collaborated on this project part of the initiative Beyond Dance: Promoting Awareness and Mutual Understanding.

Audio Excerpts

available at Bandcamp

Creative Team
Donald Byrd, choreographer
Byron Au Yong, composer
Jack Mehler, set/lighting designer
Byron Au Yong, er-hu, voice, drums, soundtrack
Paul Kikuchi, drums, bicycle wheels, cassette
Tiffany Lin, cello, drums, bicycle wheels
Mike Au Yong, Ying Zhou, additional recorded voices
Kelly Ann Barton, Ty Alexander Cheng, Geneva Jenkins, Kylie Lewallen, Vincent Lopez, Amber Nicole Mayberry, Joel Myers, Tory Peil, Patrick Pulkrabek, Marissa Quimby, Mia Monteabaro, Meaghan Sanford, Sarah Poppe, dancers

Duration: 80 minutes
Presented by Spectrum Dance Theatre in partnership with Seattle Theater Group
Premiered at The Moore Theatre in Seattle, February 2010

Press Quotes
“Byron Au Yong, delivers not just a score but a bedlam-filled sound collage.”
—Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
“... his memories of his father’s recollections of playing form a powerful connection to a lost past, and composer Byron Au Yong incorporates them into the score to powerful effect.”
—Jeremy Barker, The Sunbreak 
“The sound is a thick, almost impenetrable thicket, an onslaught you must cut your way through in order to pay the dancers any attention.”
—Marcie Sillman, ArtDish 
“The music alone is well worth it. Melodies are layered with live percussion, speech and bicycle wheels, punctuated by the sounds of the dancers.”
—Kaya P, Teen Tix Blog 
“The instruments Au Yong incorporates include Chinese percussion — drums, symbols and gong; Chinese fiddle; cello; and a bicycle wheel whose spokes are plucked and strummed.”
—Leslie Holleran, Seattle Dances
Read preview articles about Farewell

CD Makes a Splash

“... exquisite darkness… whimsical lines… captivating experience.” – The Stranger

Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
audio recording features hiking opera singers & water percussionists


available at AmazonCD Baby | iTunes

One day, composer Byron Au Yong was overcome in the bottled water section of the supermarket. He heard voices from Poland Spring and Fiji cry out. Au Yong, a Seattle-based musician who composes songs of dislocation, realized that water was kidnapped and taken far from home.

In response, he created 64 musical miniatures for voice and percussion to be performed in, about, and around water. While composing, Au Yong was inspired by listening to water and studying the I Ching 易經 (Book of Changes). He invited eight librettists from around the world to create contemporary responses to the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese texts.

Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas travels through warnings, prayers, fantasies, and whispers in a thematic review for future generations about an element older than man. Human voices and splashing water cry out harder than the silent wisdom of hair turned white.

The initiative was performed in 64 waterways throughout the Pacific Northwest in Summer 2008, as part of 4Culture’s Site-Specific Performance Network and the Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts. A Sound/Light Installation, created with media sculptor Randy Moss, was shown at the Jack Straw New Media Gallery in Fall 2008.

Audio Demo

available at AmazonCD Baby | iTunes

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer
Randy Moss, media sculptor

Eugenie Chan, Bret Fetzer, Aaron Jafferis, Archana Kumar, Carola Luther, Caroline Murphy, Vivian Umino, Edisa Weeks, librettists

Josie Davis, Emily Greenleaf, Jeremiah Oliver, David Stutz, singers
Stuart McLeod, Dean Moore, Benjamin Morrow, James Whetzel, percussionists

Tom Stiles, audio engineer
Wing Fong, CD designer

MAP Fund
4Culture Site-Specific Arts
Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts
Jack Straw New Media Gallery


“Au Yong brings his usual eclectic collection of instruments.”
—Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger


available at AmazonCD Baby

In 1996, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and I met in Japan. 10 years later, we performed in the Tokyo Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando. The following year, we performed in Seattle’s Chapel Performance Space, then recorded BreathPlay just before midnight as part of Doug Haire’s Sonarchy. Raw audio files were mixed by James Whetzel, then mastered by Jake Perrine at RFI/CD Mastering.

available at AmazonCD Baby

Creative Team
Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, shakuhachi
Byron Au Yong, voice, er-hu, piano, percussion, water
Doug Haire, audio engineer
James Whetzel, initial mix
Jake Perrine, mastering engineer
Wing Lee Fong, CD designer

Press Quote
“A master at scenting traditional instruments and theatrical staging with a whiff of the avant, Au Yong duets with Tokyo-based flutist Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. I heard Blasdel a few years ago and still remember his ravishing tone on shakuhachi.”
The Stranger

On Ensemble's Dust and Sand

Available at Amazon

On Ensemble has released their first compact disc called Dust and Sand. They included my work Two by Four, for nagauta voice and taiko as part of the recording.

I remember when I wrote Two by Four in 2003. I visited the musicians in Mt. Shasta where they were rehearsing. One night, Shoj, his dad, Mas, Kris, and I huddled under the piercing stars on a summer evening. I fell asleep listening to their deep voices tell stories from the past. In my slumber, I discovered that Two by Four was about creating an alternate story for North American taiko music based on noise and the ephemeral quality of stars. Being near a sacred mountain, I was reminded to listen and feel the night in this way, calmly taking in the activity of nature.

Listening to On Ensemble's recording, I hover in that summer dream space again, fascinated by how the taiko and gongs cross between Latin and Japanese, between past and future, and between myself and the night-mountain sky.


Available at
for er-hu (Chinese fiddle), euphonium, Irish flute, Noh voices, shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), string bass, tabla, taiko, trombone, dhung chen (Tibetan long horns), voices, and xun (clay flute)

“There is the sense of field recordings and yet, compositionally, there is also an insistence of academic modernism.”
– Jon Gierlich, International Examiner

Unusual instruments and vocal techniques produce a theatrical music that evokes secret rituals.

Audio Excerpt

Producer Notes
“Stirring, meditative, but distinctively contemporary music by Byron Au Yong, drawing upon traditional Asian aesthetics and instruments. There is a highly ritualistic quality to Au Yong’s music, especially in Walking, which features Noh Theater vocal techniques and percussion. The compositions also include Stirring and Weaving. The latter is a shakuhachi solo composed at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.”
Herb Levy, Periplum Records

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer
Doug Haire, audio engineer
Ellen Fullman, CD designer

Karen Akada, voice, taiko, gong, rattle
Byron Au Yong, voice, taiko, gong, er-hu
David Crandall and Yukie Iotomi, noh voice
David Goldman, clay flute, taiko, dhung chen
Frank Minoru Phillips, tabla, trombone, clay flute, taiko
Greg Ohme, euphonium
Peter Joon Park, dhung chen
Dennis Staskowski, string bass
Aiko Shimada, voice
Hanz Araki, Irish flute, whistle, shakuhachi
Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, shakuhachi

Recorded at Jack Straw Productions, Seattle
Released by Periplum Records, January 2001
Available at
Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

Byron Au Yong & Christopher Yohmei Blasdel: BreathPlay

Byron Au Yong: Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
Kidnapping Water:
Bottled Operas
Byron Au Yong: Yiju