Showing posts with label Score. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Score. Show all posts


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

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


Choral Work
for 24 moving voices

“... elegantly mingles folk elements with theatrical staging.” —The Stranger

Video Documentation

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, music & movement
Aaron Jafferis, English lyrics
Lao Tzu, Chinese lyrics

Duration: 6 minutes 
Premiered in Everett, Medina, Seattle, Tacoma, August 2005
Commissioned by The Esoterics
Support from Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts

Performed by The Esoterics: Andrew Oakley, Bayta Maring, Betsy Baeskens, Bill Falconer, Bruce Weber, Curtis Man, Dan Luethy, Doug Rank (soloist), Erin Harlan, Jeremy Porter, Jessica Spears, Karen Lindenberg, Karyn Schwartz, Kathea Yarnell, Kristen Ramer, Lorri Frogget, Mary Wieneke, Matthew Keri, Meredith Burness (soloist), Michael Seidel, Penny Cramer, Reidar Dittmann, Sam Beckert, Theo Yaung; conducted by Eric Banks

Program Notes
“To yield is to preserve unity.” 
The opening line of Byron Au Yong’s Surrender encapsulates the message and experience of his work. As the text, music, and movement weave together in performance, one feels viscerally the essential truth that to resist, defend, or insist is to enter more deeply into struggle. In a time so beset with aggression, anxiety, and violence, it is a great joy to be reminded of the wisdom in surrendering: to the unknown, the unassuming, to the collective gesture of creativity and imagination. 
The meditative state that this piece evokes and requires holds us in such a gesture - drawing energy into itself, and then surrendering just as fluidly, as a prayer for possibility and for peace. 
Karen Schwartz, The Esoterics
Composer Notes
As an American in a time of discord, I challenge myself to untangle the complexities, hear the outrage, accept the justifications, recognize the fear, embrace the sorrow, and acknowledge the denial of war, because I am descended from survivors of involuntary migration. My grandparents fled Japanese imperialist aggression during World War II. I am touched by their hardships as well as ceremonies of healing. 
Surrender combines singing with tai qi to reach a state filled with strength and compassion, so I can continue to be engaged with my country at war. I use text from the Dao De Jing because of the potential for transformation contained in the Chinese ideograms of Verse 22, by Lao Tzu. These include the character images for missing, confused heart, hands pull apart, sun disappears, claws, chopping sound, crimes of the mouths, and plants rise from the ground. 
With the help of hip hop poet Aaron Jafferis, I merge Mandarin and English texts. The tai qi movements and vocals for Surrender are forever mindful of taking the next step. 
Byron Au Yong
Press Quotes
“He first worshipped Bach and Chopin, but gradually switched — from piano to percussion, from reverence to questioning and from one cultural source to a melange.”
Jen Graves, The News Tribune 
“... meditative music without the mush and just a hint of muscle.”
Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger

buy score at Bandcamp
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.

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