Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts

Dartmouth Department of Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts and NYTW present...

August 22, 2015, 8pm

Bentley Theater, Dartmouth College

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer
Aaron Jafferis, librettist
Ed Iskandar, director
Jody Schum, music director
David Sawicki, co-music director
Jeremy S. Bloom, sound/foley designer
Lindsey Turteltaub, stage manager

Julius Ahn · Kim Blanck · Philippe Bowgen · Ryan-James Hatanaka · James Seol

Shenghua Hu, violin · Sha Wu, cello · Lee Caron, percussion

“This year’s selections include two musicals in development, American Pop, composed and written by Obie winner Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Fortress of Solitude) and Stuck Elevator by composer Byron Au Yong and librettist Aaron Jafferis, a hip hop poet and playwright.” —New York Theatre Workshop


Choral Work
for moving choir along the water

“... it’s hard to imagine that anyone walked away from TURBINE unchanged.”
—David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer


Leah Stein Dance Company and
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
at the Fairmount Water Works

June 27 & 28, 2015 · Sold Out

In TURBINE, the audience is immersed with music and movement in an outdoor performance along the water. The project is being created for the 200th Anniversary of the Fairmount Water Works—an urban environmental center on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia—and is available for other civic waterways.

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer
Leah Stein, artistic director/choreographer
Alan Harler, conductor/music director

Performed by Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

with assistant conductors Ryan Tibbetts, Austen Wilson
and soloists Jennifer Beattie, Shahara M. Benson, Jean Bernard Cerin, Josh Hartman, Bob Rodgers, Alice McKillip Thornburgh, Rebecca Thornburgh, Ryan Tibbetts, Austen Wilson

Duration: variable (circa one hour)
Commissioned and performed by Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
More about the lyrics compiled and edited by Byron Au Yong

Audio Interviews
“One of a kind performance at the Waterworks”
WHYY NewsWorks

“How many arms does it take to conduct the Mendelssohn Club Choir?”
WRTI Radio

"Soyoung Shin interviews Byron Au Yong"
KCHUNG her variety

Program Note Excerpt
Alan Harler and Leah Stein brought me to the Fairmount Water Works in October 2013. The park and historic plaza were alive with people enjoying the autumn day next to the glistening waterway. Appropriately translated as “hidden river,” the Schuylkill turned from peaceful to terrifying when the following spring, the water crested at nearly 14 feet. The May 2014 flood brought a deluge to the Water Works. A place that was historically the source of clean water became filled with debris. 
TURBINE draws upon accounts from the heyday of the Fairmount Water Works in the early 19th century. Visitors marveled at human ingenuity building “miraculous mechanical… cylinders and pistons” that worked with nature to provide “clear and bright as crystal, a cup for the thirsty.” This text is filtered through a 21st century reality to produce lyric fragments.

Migration as well as water molecules influence the music. Voices seep in and out of the sounds along the river. These include the noise of traffic and trains. Musical motifs connect and disconnect in a free molecular flow. 
According to the World Health Organization, a child dies from a water-related disease every minute. More than twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water. How can we turn despair and rage into wisdom? 
Singing and listening to a river in the middle of a city is a step towards “justice journeying to harbor.” A turbine takes turbulence and transforms it into potential energy. Together we can find ways to ensure that the 750 million people around the world who lack access to safe water are given a chance to survive.
Byron Au Yong
February 2015
Program Notes


Video: Byron Au Yong Interview

Video: Alan Harler Interview

Video: Leah Stein Interview

Video: Deenah Loeb Interview

Preview Quote
“Site-specific virtuoso choreographer Leah Stein and composer Byron Au Yong create an experience with performers and audience moving throughout the entire site at the Fairmount Water Works.”
Merilyn Jackson, The Philadelphia Inquirer

More Press
· Peter Crimmins. One of a kind performance at the Waterworks. WHYY NewsWorks
· Kelsey Menehan. Commissioning Journeys: When the Place Shapes the Music. Chorus Ameria
· Miriam Seidel. Leah Stein, Dance AlchemistMiriam Seidel Blog
· David Patrick Stearns. Getting Creative Down by the RiversideThe Philadelphia Inquirer
· David Patrick Stearns. How many arms does it take to conduct the Mendelssohn Club Choir? WRTI
· Lewis Whittington. Stein’s water-dances fuel TurbineThe Dance Journal

· Bibliography and Source Text for Lyrics
· Fairmount Water Works
· Musical Score
· PhillyH2O
· Turbine Residency, October 2014

Special Thanks
Lora Allen, Sonja Bontrager, Alan Harler, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Michelle Hollander, Adam Levine (Philadelphia Water Department), Deenah Loeb (City Parks Association), Janelle McCoy, Edward McNally, Leah Stein, Leah Stein Dance Company, Library Company of Philadelphia, Carolyn Linarello, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Michael Moore, New Music USA, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Gabrielle Revlock, Saechew/Tolsma Household, Amanda Schkeeper, Skip Stotesbury, Thornburgh Family, Ryan Tibbetts, Rich Tolsma Productions, Sharon Torello, Schuylkill Banks, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Richard Tolsma, William Penn Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, Karen Young (Fairmount Water Works)

Major support for TURBINE was provided by William Penn Foundation. In addition, TURBINE was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts.

Mo Sheng 墨声 Ink Sound

Chamber Music/Exhibition Performance
for string quartet

Mò Shēng 墨声 Ink Sound relates the simplicity and density of sound to the amount of ink on a brush. The string quartet plays with a calligraphic impulse, inspired by Pan Gongkai’s Exhibition.

Trailer Video

Duration: variable (circa 18 minutes)
Instrumentation: two violins, viola, cello
Premiered by the Passenger String Quartet
Commissioned by the Frye Art Museum

Program Notes
Mò Shēng 墨声 Ink Sound was created was created and performed on the occasion of the Frye Art Museum’s exhibition 潘公凯 Pan Gongkai: Withered Lotus Cast in Iron.

A contemporary master of Chinese ink painting and president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Pan creates large-scale, site-specific ink paintings without interruption, in sessions that often last more than 12 hours. He views this physically demanding process as a key performative element of his work. This is the first exhibition of Pan’s art in the United States.

As a Chinese American composer based in Seattle, Au Yong has a complex relationship with China. His new music translates Pan’s Exhibition to evoke a local resonance. The music will be premiered by the Passenger String Quartet in the Frye Art Museum galleries.

Musicians use techniques that vary the bowing pressure, similar to the textures of ink density that respond to both Pan’s art as well as the exhibition environment through the shifting spatial placement of the musicians. Au Yong’s notation contains precise musical gestures that can be read in any order by the string quartet, similar to how an ink brush painting can be experienced.
Audience Quotes
“While listening, I was in another world. Felt like I could “touch” the sound.”

“The interplay of the instruments/parts was particularly gratifying.”

“I was able to see and hear Pan Gongkai differently.”


Mò Shēng 墨声 Ink Sound was commissioned by the Frye Art Museum and funded by the Frye Foundation with the support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. Seasonal support is provided by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and ArtsFund. Music was composed for the Passenger String Quartet to perform on the occasion of the exhibition 潘公凯 Pan Gongkai: Withered Lotus Cast in Iron, curated by Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker. The score was completed during a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

· Pan Gongkai: Withered Lotus Cast in Iron at Frye Art Museum
· Pan Gongkai: Dispersion and Generation at Zhejiang Art Museum

The Orphan of Zhao

Rehearsals started earlier this week for The Orphan of Zhao (趙氏孤兒). Here's the sign on our rehearsal room. The ensemble songs are definitely not quiet!

The new production runs at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, from June 4 - 29, 2014, and La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, from July 8 - August 3, 2014. Here's the trailer...

Opening April 8

photo © Joe Freeman

Media sculptor Susie J. Lee and I work on Piano Concerto – Houston.

In late January, we visited Houston and interviewed pianists. In early March, we gathered & recorded pianists. Now we are in Seattle editing audio & video + building the installation. Piano Concerto – Houston (part of the 11 Pianists Project) was commissioned by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts for the inaugural CounterCurrent Festival. The exhibition opens April 8.

Visit for details about the pianists, score, exhibition, & more.

Happy Gnu Ears

Gnu? Neigh.

Welcome to the energetic year of the Wooden Horse: don dogo don dogo don dogo don dogo...
Susie J Lee and Byron Au Yong at the piano
Piano Concerto – Houston unveils April 9-14, 2014 | Photo © 2014 Joe Freeman
February 28-March 7 residency
Piano Concerto – Houston
gathering 11 pianists
Mitchell Center for the Arts (Houston TX)

Tangosa score by Au Yong
Hear Tangosa in a free concert March 16, 2014 | excerpt from the score by Byron Au Yong
March 16 performance
The Satie Tango Perpetuel Project
for string trio
March Music Moderne
Community Music Center (Portland OR)

April 9-14 installation
11 Pianists
for 11 pianists and one piano
CounterCurrent Festival
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts (Houston TX)

April 15-17 site visit
for 32 college singers
Virginia Tech Center for the Arts (Blacksburg VA)

Orphan of Zhao
The Orphan of Zhao at A.C.T. June 4-29, 2014 & La Jolla Playhouse July 8-August 3, 2014
June 4-29 performances
The Orphan of Zhao
original music for this new adaptation
American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco CA)

June 5 panel to be announced
League of American Orchestras Conference (Seattle WA)

June 14-28 residency to be announced
International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven CT)

July 8-August 3 performances
The Orphan of Zhao
original music for this new adaptation
La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego CA)

World Taiko Gathering features concerts, workshops and more July 17-20, 2014
July 17-20 presentation
Taiko Music Analysis
2014 World Taiko Gathering (Los Angeles CA)

Sign up to hear about upcoming 2014 events.
Details from a Thankful 2013


2013 has included over 50 musical performances, art exhibitions, creativity panels & artist residencies. I am humbled by the numerous ways I have connected with people in over a dozen different cities. Here's more about this fulfilling year.

Stuck Elevator (libretto by Aaron Jafferis, directed by Chay Yew) premiered with 28 performances at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, then 12 shows at Long Wharf Theatre as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas produced by ArKtype in New Haven.

Nonsequitor presented Welladay! Welladay! Wayward Love Songs prompted by James Joyce, orphans and unwed mothers at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle. Either/Or performed Kiss/Kuss/吻 as part of the Cage100 Party Pieces Project at the Miller Theatre in New York.

The year started with the Chicago Composers Orchestra performing Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. The work was influenced by Chinese gardens, John Cage and the Occupy movement.

My work was included in the Party Pieces Exhibition at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig and Chamber Music at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.

Panels & Teaching
Idea Lab at the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in Philadelphia, on Sharing Our Stories: Work from the Field for the Opportunity Agenda Creative Change Retreat at Sundance, for What is American Culture? at the TAAC (The Association of American Cultures) Open Dialogue: People, Places and Policy in Providence, on Working Across Cultures at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, plus as part of Edge Effect: How Diversity Fuels Creativity at the TCG National Conference in Dallas. As a Creative Capital Artist Advisor I worked with grantees at the orientation weekend in Brooklyn and for the retreat at Williams College. Additionally, I led workshops as part of Creative Capital's Professional Development Program in Nashville and Philadelphia.

Before the year ends, I go to the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA to start work with Aaron Jafferis on Trigger, a theatrical oratorio for 32 singers about mental health & violence prompted by the Virginia Tech Massacre. Another recent residency was at the American Conservatory Theatre, where I worked with director Carey Perloff, designers and actors/musicians at The Orphan of Zhao music/movement workshop in San Francisco in preparation for the production at A.C.T. in June 2014 and the La Jolla Playhouse in July 2014.

Sign up to hear about upcoming 2014 events.

October 19th Event

"... more sensitive to natural sounds and the spiritual resonances of a place
than perhaps any other local composer." – Seattle Weekly

Nonsequitur presents...

Welladay! Welladay!
Good Shepherd Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

October 19, 2013, 8pm

Performed in the Good Shepherd Center inside the fourth-floor chapel, this ceremony sweeps through 36 love poems by James Joyce. The fragmented music also nods to the orphans and unwed mothers who once lived in the building. A vocalist, piano trio and guests perform this intimate work presented by Nonsequitur's Wayward Music Series. Thanks to Historic Seattle and the Frye Art Museum.

logo design by tiffany@tiflin

Welladay! Welladay! Flyer

Welladay! Welladay! Musical Ceremony on October 19, 2013, at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle

Thanks TifLinDesign for this Welladay! Welladay! flyer.

The event, presented by Nonsequitur in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, happens October 19, 2013. Expect crumpled paper + wayward songs to fill the historic Chapel Performance Space.

Arts & Ideas

International Festival of Arts & Ideas presents

in association with Long Wharf Theatre

June 20-22, 25-29 at 8pm
June 22-23, 26, 29 at 2pm

Music by Byron Au Yong
Libretto by Aaron Jafferis
Directed by Chay Yew
Music Directed by Frederick Alden Terry

Julius Ahn, Marie-France Arcilla, Francis Jue, Raymond Lee, Joel Perez

Shenghua Hu (violin), Frederick Alden Terry (cello), Byron Au Yong (piano), Lee Caron (percussion)

Daniel Ostling Scenic Designer
Mikhail Fiksel Sound Designer
Myung Hee Cho Costume Designer
Ted Boyce-Smith Associate Lighting Designer
Alexandra Friedman Associate Scenic Designer
Naya Chang Assistant Director

Stuck Elevator at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas presented with support from: NEA Arts Works, NEFA, Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven, Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven

Stuck Elevator was developed and premiered by the American Conservatory Theatre (Carey Perloff, Artistic Director), San Francisco, CA, from April 4-28, 2013

Stuck Elevator was developed, in part, by the Sundance Institute Theatre Program with additional support from the Sundance Institute’s Time Warner Fellowship Program

Stuck Elevator is a project of Creative Capital, and was developed, in part, with the assistance of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute artist-in-residence program at NYU and Yale Institute for Music Theatre. Touring is made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Pilot, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Support for earlier versions from 4Culture, Artist Trust, API/2, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Hand2Mouth’s Risk/Reward New Performance Festival, Museum of Chinese in America, On the Boards’ NW New Works Festival, Theatre Off Jackson and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

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

Stuck Elevator premieres at A.C.T. in 2013

Media Contact
Randy Taradash
Associate Director of Marketing and Press
(415) 439-2351 or

American Conservatory Theatre Announces 2012-13 Season
Below are excerpts from A.C.T.'s press release...
World Premiere Musical Event
Music by Byron Au Yong
Libretto by Aaron Jafferis
Directed by Chay Yew 
April 4–28, 2013
Press Night: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 
"[Yew has] visionary direction" —Entertainment Today 
"Moving and funny" —Seattlest 
In the spirit of the beloved hit The Black Rider, A.C.T. continues the tradition of introducing eclectic, unforgettable musical projects to the stage. Stuck Elevator is based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention—with dire consequences for this illegal undocumented immigrant. Inventively staged by internationally acclaimed artist Chay Yew, Stuck Elevator unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas.

SAN FRANCISCO (April 18, 2012)—American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced the lineup for the company's 46th subscription season, which includes an eclectic and unforgettable world premiere musical event, a masterwork from acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard, a world premiere comedy from one of Canada's most prolific playwrights, a sultry Tennessee Williams drama, a revitalized classic starring Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, and the return of Lorenzo Pisoni's sold-out stage memoir. An exciting theatrical event—to be announced at a later date—will fill the ninth show slot.

The 2012–13 season marks the 20th anniversary of Carey Perloff as A.C.T.'s artistic director. Says Perloff: "Twenty years marks a time to celebrate the past and, even more importantly, to make a bold commitment to the future: to new artists, new work, and new ways of imagining the theater. There are so many threads that I wanted to include in this anniversary season, and I chose the kind of work that has truly distinguished A.C.T. over the past 20 years: gorgeous writing, international work, new explorations of Greek tragedy, the work of Tom Stoppard, unusual music-theater and dance-theater collaborations, Bay Area–themed work, and a Canadian surprise. I'm delighted to share this adventurous and groundbreaking season with the San Francisco Bay Area."

* * *

In the spirit of the beloved hit The Black Rider, A.C.T. is thrilled to continue the tradition of introducing eclectic, unforgettable musical projects to the stage with the world premiere of Stuck Elevator (April 4–28). A powerful and poignant hip-hop opera music-theatre work, Stuck Elevator is based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention—with dire consequences for this illegal undocumented immigrant. Stuck in limbo, he launches into poignant and hilarious hallucinations about his past, present, and future. Inventively staged by OBIE Award winner and internationally acclaimed artist Chay Yew, Stuck Elevator unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas, from immigration and labor to familial obligation and fortune cookies.

* * *

415 Geary Street
San Francisco CA 94108
(415) 749-2228


It's always a pleasure to work with choreographer Donald Byrd. I appreciate how he challenges my aesthetic and how clear his instructions are for what he wants musically. In March, Donald asked me to remix tracks for Spectrum Dance Theatre's Petruchska. He specifically wanted a carnival-girlie-show-feel that had a groove.

I laughed, "What do I know about girlie show music?!"

Spectrum Dance Theater presents Petruchska, Donald Byrd’s re-imagining of the Igor Stravinsky/Alexandre Benois ballet about ill-fated love. With a live carnival, roving performers, and multimedia installation, this voyeuristic immersion in the puppets' world will literally have the audience following the story as it unfolds throughout Madrona Park and into SDT’s studios and theater. This "creep show" ushers the audience into participating as viewers and witnesses in the lurid drama of life behind the puppet show.

Experience Spectrum Dance Theatre's Petruchska from April 13-22, 2012
Details | Facebook ]

Magma Festival

Tonight, I perform a set with Paul Rucker and Tari Nelson-Zagar for Hollow Earth Radio's Magma Festival. Since meeting last December, Tari and I have already performed three times together. This is the first time I get to perform with Paul.

Thanks to Steve Peters for curating this panoply of eclectic Seattle musicians:

Brass: Angelina Baldoz, Samantha Boshnack, Lesli Dalaba
Strings: Byron Au Yong, Tari Nelson-Zagar, Paul Rucker
Winds: Beth Fleenor, Paul Hoskin, Jenny Zeifel
Percussion: Stuart Dempster, Paul Kikuchi, Susie Kozawa

Magma Festival: 3 x 4
16 March 2012, 7PM

Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave N
Seattle WA 98103

$5-15 sliding scale (cash/checks only)
suggested donation at the door

Flashes of Brilliance

FLASHES OF BRILLIANCE: an evening of spontaneous invention in movement, sound and light

Saturday, February 11, 8pm
Velocity Dance Center
1621 12th Avenue
Seattle WA 98122

Witness the sparks of artistic creation at their exact moment of ignition. Movement artists, musicians and lighting designers will teeter between instinct, play and loss of control as they improvise a night of performances that challenges the artists to create work in the moment. The Flashes of Brilliance that ensue will be unique, unrehearsed and will exist for this one night only.

This night of spontaneous invention in movement, music and lighting will benefit Velocity Dance Center’s newly acquired program: the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI).


Movement Artists: Linda Austin, Stephanie Skura, Amelia Reeber, Alia Swersky, Aaron Swartzman, Karen Nelson, Douglas Ridings, Beth Graczyk, Peggy Piacenza, Wade Madsen

Musicians: Byron Au Yong, Angelina Baldoz, Adam Kozie, Tiffany Lin, Beth Fleenor, Paris Hurley

Lighting Designers
: Dave Proscia, Ilvs Strauss

+ more


Live Music Installation
for found & broken instruments

O(pa)pera is a musical zoetrope. A quartet of displaced musicians find themselves sheltered inside of a revolving paper tent. Playing found and broken instruments reminds them of a former life and points to a future of new possibilities.

photos by Cameron Nagashima

Composer Byron Au Yong knew that he wanted to create a paper opera with musicians inside of a gigantic lantern. When the Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami happened in 2011, he merged the words "opera" and "paper" to become O(pa)pera. He found inspiration in Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designing paper buildings for disaster relief victims. How could music be used after a catastrophe? A creative team was gathered for O(pa)pera Phase One in 2011, while the Seattle Art Museum's Luminous Exhibition was touring Asia.

In collaboration with director Roger Benington and musicians Jeremiah Cawley, Tiffany Lin, and Tari Nelson-Zagar, Au Yong began rehearsals gathering stories about musicians and earthquakes. Violinist Nelson-Zagar remembered that after the 1935 Montana earthquake, her grandmother and father lived in a tent for several months. Au Yong found that Haydn wrote a string quartet with a section called Terremoto (earthquake).

O(pa)pera Phase One was performed in the Arnold Board Room of the Seattle Art Museum for two sold out shows in January 2012.

before the lights dim...

Phase One of Four

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer / musician
Roger Benington, director / installation artist
Jeremiah Cawley, musician
Tari Nelson-Zagar, musician
Tiffany Lin, musician
Yuka Kitayama, announcer

Nancy Casanova, project manager
Frank Phillips, technical consultant
Lauren Iida, videographer
Cameron Nagashima, photographer

Along with singing, drumming + playing paper, the musicians perform on: erhu, xun, typewriter (Au Yong), trombone, harmonica (Cawley), violin, xun (Nelson-Zagar), cello, found electronic device, toy piano, water gong (Lin). Benington activated the gigantic zoetrope with numerous lights.

Yuka announces: "Object Number..."

Become Involved
O(pa)pera is in four phases. The creative team would like to partner with science museums as well as disaster relief organizations to continue the research & development. Contact Au Yong for details.

Special Thanks
Jerry Becker, John Gilbreath, Crystal Mazzali, KT Niehoff, Fred & Nelly Schaffner, Esther Sugai, Mayumi Tsutakawa, along with support from SAM staff especially Jamie Andrews, Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Erin Langner, Wendy Saffel, & Greg Sandoval


Here's a photo collage from I AM NOT A TERRORIST, a 3+ hour performance where I played drums at the entrance to the Velocity Dance Center's Big BANG Benefit celebration of Seattle dance on September 24, 2011.

Arts Innovation Workshop + Forum

The Wallace Foundation & Washington State Arts Commission continue to offer free Arts Participation Leadership Initiative learning events. This time, we focus on innovation with guest Richard Evans. As president of EmcArts, Richard has designed the Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts, the New Pathways for the Arts Initiative, plus the Innovation Lab for Museums launching this fall. Participants will generate new approaches to consider for their organizations. Check out Richard's paper Innovate to Thrive.

03 October 2011
McCaw Hall, Seattle Center
  • Forum (10am-noon) Innovation: Connecting to a New Era of Arts Participation
  • Workshop (1:30-4pm) The Roots of Innovation
Registration required for these free learning events.

Big BANG Benefit

Next Saturday, I join 30+ performers in a 3+ hour performance to celebrate the talent and imagination of Seattle's dance scene. The Big BANG Remix is part of a weekend of events to benefit Velocity Dance Center.

Here are some of the performers: Adam Sekuler, Haruko Nishimura, Byron Au Yong, Belle Wolf, Ezra Dickinson, Kate Wallich, Kelly Sullivan, Rosa Vissers, Karn Junkinsmith, zoe|juniper, Serge Gubelman, Stimulate Dance, Anna-lizette Conner, Douglas Ridings, Karin Stevens & Craig van den Bosch, David Wolbrecht, Eric Pitsenbarger, Markeith Wiley, Colleen McNeary, Jenna Bean Veatch, Lou Karsen & Stefanie Karlin, Maya Soto, Kristen Tslatslos, Rachel Grant, Amy Johnson, Erica Badgeley, Molly Sides & Vanessa DeWolf.

24 September 2011, 8pm
Big BANG Remix Party
Velocity Dance Center

Day of Music

Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas appears at the Seattle Symphony’s Day of Music. Soprano Betsy Baeskens performs with percussionists Byron Au Yong and Stuart McLeod in the fountains in the Garden of Remembrance outside Benaroya Hall. They are part of the 40+ musical groups invited to perform in seven locations as part of this community-wide celebration of Seattle music as well as welcome for conductor Ludovic Morlot.

Sunday, 18 September 2011, 12:45-1:15pm
Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
Seattle Symphony Day of Music
2nd Ave & University St
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
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