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Presented By: Center for World Performance Studies

Jen Shyu

Zero Grasses

Photo credit: Wolf Daniel Courtesy of Roulette Intermedium Photo credit: Wolf Daniel Courtesy of Roulette Intermedium
Photo credit: Wolf Daniel Courtesy of Roulette Intermedium
Thursday, November 18 | 7:30pm
Free and open to the public.

Composition, vocals, piano, sound design, Japanese biwa, Taiwanese moon lute, dance by Jen Shyu
Directed by Alexandru Mihail

Space limited. Seating first come first served. Guests entering the Keene must provide proof of vaccination, complete a health questionnaire and wear a face cover - no exceptions.

Center for World Performance Studies will host groundbreaking vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer Jen Shyu for an artist residency, including a performance of her new multilingual multimedia show Zero Grasses. In this mythical monodrama, Shyu effortlessly weaves together music, monologue and video projection, tracing the threads of her life to explore the painful terrain of expectation, ambition, longing and love. A performance of the piece will take place at East Quad Keene Theater on Thursday, November 18 at 7:30pm, and is free and open to the public.

Zero Grasses was commissioned by John Zorn’s Stone Commissioning series and premiered in October 2019 at National Sawdust. It is sung in English, Taiwanese, Tetum of East Timor, Korean, Javanese, and Indonesian. The work features Shyu’s original music as well as some traditional music from these countries, with movement and installation art that carry the essence of these specific vocal and dance traditions. Shyu will accompany her voice with Taiwanese moon lute, gayageum, piano, violin, dance, and electronics.

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, 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, Asian Cultural Council, 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.
Photo credit: Wolf Daniel Courtesy of Roulette Intermedium Photo credit: Wolf Daniel Courtesy of Roulette Intermedium
Photo credit: Wolf Daniel Courtesy of Roulette Intermedium

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