|American Conservatory Theatre · Photo Credit: Julius Ahn|
What happens if you find a great collaborator—someone who shares your vision, where the creative chemistry starts to spark—and it turns out that you don’t live anywhere close to each other?
“Byron lives in Seattle and I live in New Haven.”
“Jafferis and I were both raised as only children, so we treasure being away from each other.”
That’s writer Aaron Jafferis and composer Byron Au Yong. And at first glance, you might expect it’s more than just geography that keeps them apart.
As a composer, Byron is inspired by the juxtaposition of nature, ancient ritual and cutting-edge technology that he finds in his Pacific Northwest home. His work draws on folk and classical elements in ways that feel surprising and avant-garde. One of his current projects is TURBINE, a composition for moving voices, commissioned by Leah Stein Dance Company and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, to premiere as part of the 200th Anniversary of the Fairmount Water Works in June 2015.
On the other hand (and the other coast), Aaron describes himself as a hip-hop poet and playwright. He draws upon the urban rhythms of his hometown in Connecticut. As an undergraduate, he majored in Arts and Social Change, and much of his work has taken the form of outreach, education and collaboration with schools, hospitals, detention centers and community organizations. Of course, that hasn’t stopped his work from being praised and performed across the country and internationally.
How did creators from such different worlds come together?
Read the complete interview in New Musical Theatre