Du Yun

b. 1977

American

Summary

Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York City, works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, theatre, cabaret, musical, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise.  Her body of work is championed by some of today’s finest performing groups and organizations around the world.

Known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience” (The New Yorker), Du Yun’s second opera, Angel’s Bone (libretto by Royce Vavrek), won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category for her work Air Glow. Her collaborative opera Sweet Land with Raven Chacon (for opera company The Industry) was the 2021 Best New Opera by the North America Critics Association. Four of her feature studio albums were named The New Yorker’s Notable Recordings of the Year, in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. 

A community champion, Du Yun was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as the Artistic Director of MATA Festival (2014-2018); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival (National Sawdust); and founded FutureTradition, a global initiative that illuminates the provenance lineages of folk art and uses these structures to build cross-regional collaborations from the ground up. Du Yun was named one of 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation (2018), “Artist of the Year” by the Beijing Music Festival (2019). In 2022, she was granted a Creative Capital Award for an AR inter-generational Kun-opera project. Asia Society Hong Kong has honored her for her continued contribution in the performing arts field. Other notable awards include Guggenheim, American Academy Berlin Prize, Fromm Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

As an avid performer and bandleader (Ok Miss), her onstage persona has been described by the New York Times as “an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge.” 

Du Yun is Professor of Composition at the Peabody Institute, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Her concert music is published worldwide by G.Schirmer.

Du Yun: No Safety Net from NewMusicBox on Vimeo.

Biography

Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai, China and currently based in New York City, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, activist, and curator for new music, who works at the intersection of orchestral, opera, chamber music, theatre, cabaret, musical theater, oral tradition, public performances, sound installation, electronics, visual arts, and noise. 

Known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience” (The New Yorker),  Du Yun’s second opera, Angel’s Bone, won a Pulitzer Prize for music in 2017. In 2018 she was named a Guggenheim Fellow; and in 2019 she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category. She has been hailed by the New York Times as a groundbreaking artist, was listed by the Washington Post as one of their Top 35 female composers, and selected by Rolling Stone Italia in their decade review as one of the composers who defined the 2010’s. Known as chameleonic in her protean artistic outputs, Du Yun’s works are championed by some of today’s finest performing artists, ensembles, orchestras, museums, and organizations around the world. Her studio albums Sweet Land, A Cockroach’s Tarantella, Dinosaur Scar and Angel’s Bone were on The New Yorker’s list of “Notable Recordings of the Year” in 2021, 2020, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The double team work, a site-specific opera Sweet Landwith co-composer Raven Chacon, librettist Aja Couchois Duncan and Douglas, co-direction by Cannupa Hanska Luger and Yuval Sharon, was on the list of year end best performance list by the LA Times and The New Yorker, and won the Best New Opera in 2021 by the North America Critics Award Association.

An avid performer, she has appeared in many assorted holes and halls, sites and museums. Her onstage persona has been described by the New York Times as “an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge.” As a performance artist, engagements include the 2012 Guangzhou Art Triennial (Guangzhou Opera House, China),the 2018 Lahore Biennial (Pakistan), the National Academy Museum (USA), the inaugural Shanghai Project (China), and Contemporary Arts Center Córdoba (Spain). Her ongoing collaborations with Pakistani-American visual artist Shahzia Sikander have shown around the world, including the Popular Award at the Karachi Biennial, and are permanent collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Du Yun also leads her band Ok Miss, which exists as both rock band and chamber ensemble—from post-punk, metal,  to trip-hop, from electronica to improvisation—all while fostering all that exists in-between. 

As a featured composer, selected commissions and venues: LA Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Carnegie Hall, London Southbank Centre, Kennedy Center, Whitney Museum, Baltimore Symphony, Festival d’Avignon, Ultima Norway, Salle Playel Paris, Darmstadt, Musica Nova Helsinki, Lincoln Center, RedCat, Kimmel Center, Cabrillo Festival, Detroit Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Shanghai Opera Orchestra, Beijing Music Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Festival, Mann Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), Trinity Wall Street, Beth Morrison Projects, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Salzburg Aspekte Festival, Lucerne Opera Theatre, the Bolshoi Orchestra (Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow), and BAM NextWave.

Du Yun’s  theatre credits include original music for Kung Fu (by David Henry Hwang); Dim Sum Warriors (by Yenyen Woo and Colin Goh), which in 2018 toured to 25 major cities in China. Recent theatre project with Tim Yip, Love in A Fallen City (by Eileen Chang), premiered in Oct 2021 in Shanghai and toured in China.

An alumna of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Oberlin College (BM), and Harvard University (MA, PhD), Du Yun is currently Professor of Composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

As a curator and activist for new music and art, she was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); served as the Artistic Director of MATA Festival (2014-2018); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival (inaugurated at National Sawdust); and founded an ongoing multi-year FutureTradition Initiative in China where she works with folk musicians from around the world in order to champion more cross-regional collaborations. Recent curatorial engagements include the LA Phil Green Umbrella Series, Göteborg Art Sounds Festival , the centennial edition at the Donaueschingen Festival (Germany, Oct 2021),  and an article in OnCurating, edited by Rob YoungIn 2018 Du Yun was named one of 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation, and in 2019 the Beijing Music Festival named her “Artist of the Year.” Asia Society Hong Kong Center has honored her for her continued contributions in the field of performing art. Other recent awards include the Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, the American Academy Berlin Prize and Creative Capital.

Du Yun’s staged and concert works are exclusively published by G. Schirmer. For scores, please contact G. Schirmer Promotion

 

Du Yun: No Safety Net from NewMusicBox on Vimeo.

News

Performances

5th January 2023

SOLOISTS
Nathan Gunn
PERFORMERS
Du Yun
CONDUCTOR
Kamna Gupta
LOCATION
Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, United States of America

6th January 2023

SOLOISTS
Nathan Gunn
PERFORMERS
Du Yun
CONDUCTOR
Kamna Gupta
LOCATION
Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, United States of America

7th January 2023

SOLOISTS
Nathan Gunn
PERFORMERS
Du Yun
CONDUCTOR
Kamna Gupta
LOCATION
Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, United States of America

10th January 2023

SOLOISTS
Nathan Gunn
PERFORMERS
Du Yun
CONDUCTOR
Kamna Gupta
LOCATION
Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, United States of America

11th January 2023

SOLOISTS
Nathan Gunn
PERFORMERS
Du Yun
CONDUCTOR
Kamna Gupta
LOCATION
Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York, United States of America

Features

Photos

Discography