“Audacious, compelling and hugely imaginative.”
Leo Stutzin, Huffington Post

Sometimes a song can mean freedom or death. I create musical events to hold tension between these extremes. My songs of dislocation honor the challenges and rituals of people who gather to listen.

As the child of immigrants, I listen to stories from hard-working individuals who work hard not to regret. As a queer Asian American, I acknowledge the privileges and responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen by birthright. Musicalizing ways out of oppression informs my process as an American composer in 2020.

Nature grounds my music. I witness trees and waterways connect earth and sky while living on occupied Ohlone land. In the midst of a climate crisis, I combine music composition, ecology, and protest as an Assistant Professor in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. Thank you for visiting. I hope we can work together on music for a changing world.

Byron Au Yong
Biography | CV

Here are a few of my projects...

Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas

photo of singers and ducks
64 musical miniatures performed in waterways throughout the Pacific Northwest, Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts, Town Hall Seattle, and other venues

The Ones, a.k.a. Trigger, a.k.a. (Be)longing

photo from (Be)longing at Virginia Tech Center for the Arts
a music theater forum about coming of age in an age of guns performed at the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, MDC Live Arts, NYU, and other venues

Stuck Elevator

a comic-rap-scrap-metal-opera about a trapped man performed at American Conservatory Theater, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, and other venues

Mò Shēng 墨声 Ink Sound

image of Mò Shēng 墨声 Ink Sound score
a string quartet calligraphy installation performed at the Frye Art Museum


photo of soloist singing in a boat
for 80+ moving voices along the water performed by the Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia for the 200th anniversary of the Fairmount Water Works

Piano Concerto–Houston

an interview installation for 11 pianists and one piano presented at the CounterCurrent Festival of the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

Farewell: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China

photo of the dance music theater performance called Farewell: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China
music for a dance-theater work choreographed by Donald Byrd for Spectrum Dance Theatre, presented by Seattle Theater Group at the Moore Theatre

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