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Center for World Performance Studies pres.

Performing the Moment, Performing the Movement

Jen Shyu | Mentorship, Creativity, and an Artist's Pivot in Times of COVID-19

Jen Shyu, photo credit Steven Schreiber Jen Shyu, photo credit Steven Schreiber
Jen Shyu, photo credit Steven Schreiber
Free & Open to the public
Registration: http://myumi.ch/4pNwx

"In times of turmoil and transformation—a locked-down present and an uncertain future—how do artists share wisdom and experience? How do they foster growth? As a vocalist singing in multiples languages, as a composer straddling genres and styles, as a musician playing instruments whose histories span continents and centuries, and as a dancer and writer of compelling grace and power, Jen Shyu transforms wisdom from masters and stories gathered from communities around the world into fresh and original expressions. Her work off the bandstand focuses on fighting inequity and helping create new mentorship networks" (Larry Blumenfeld). During this session, Shyu will also perform new works composed during the lockdown period that are centered around quarantine as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jen Shyu ("Shyu" pronounced "Shoe" in English, Chinese name: 徐秋雁, Pinyin: Xúqiūyàn) is a groundbreaking, multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, 2019 United States Artists Fellow, 2016 Doris Duke Artist, and was voted 2017 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Female Vocalist. Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, Shyu is widely regarded for her virtuosic singing and riveting stage presence, carving out her own beyond-category space in the art world. She has performed with or sung the music of such musical innovators as Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Bobby Previte, Chris Potter, Michael Formanek and David Binney. Shyu has performed her own music on prestigious world stages such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Ojai Festival, Ringling International Arts Festival, Asia Society, Roulette, Blue Note, Bimhuis, Salihara Theater, National Gugak Center, National Theater of Korea and at festivals worldwide.

A Stanford University graduate in opera with classical violin and ballet training, Shyu had already won many piano competitions and performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto (3rd mvmt.) with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra by the age of 13. She speaks 10 languages and has studied traditional music and dance in Cuba, Taiwan, Brazil, China, South Korea, East Timor and Indonesia, conducting extensive research which culminated in her 2014 stage production Solo Rites: Seven Breaths, directed by renowned Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho.

Shyu has won commissions and support from NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, MAP Fund, US-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship from Japan-US Friendship Commission and National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works, Exploring the Metropolis, New Music USA, Jazz Gallery, and Roulette, as well as fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korean Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism.

Shyu has produced seven albums as a leader, including the first female-led and vocalist-led album Pi Recordings has released, Synastry (Pi 2011), with co-bandleader and bassist Mark Dresser. Her critically acclaimed Sounds and Cries of the World (Pi 2015) landed on many best-of-2015 lists, including those of The New York Times, The Nation, and NPR. Her latest album Song of Silver Geese (Pi 2017) is receiving rave reviews and was also included on The New York Times’ Best Albums of 2017.

In the new virtual series, PERFORMING THE MOVEMENT, PERFORMING THE MOMENT, Center for World Performance Studies invites performers and scholars from diverse disciplines to reflect on how performance is being used to respond to the political, social, health and environmental crises that we face at this moment. Each guest will give a 30 minute presentation, and then engage in 30 minutes of Q&A. Sessions will take place over Zoom and require advance registration. You can read about the panelists, register for these events, find recommended reading and resources and/or request recordings of past events at https://lsa.umich.edu/world-performance.

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact the Center for World Performance Studies, at 734-936-2777. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the University to arrange.
Jen Shyu, photo credit Steven Schreiber Jen Shyu, photo credit Steven Schreiber
Jen Shyu, photo credit Steven Schreiber

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