In our first virtual concert of 2021, we are honored to be presenting a program filled with stunning music performed by mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron and pianist Myra Huang. On Belonging is a program that explores what it means to "belong" in different spaces and how one's Asian identity plays a role in sense of home, love, safety, and self.
"Without question, a major highlight of the project was collaborating with Myra. This recital has represented an invitation for us to engage with the complexity of who we are as Asian women and musicians in a new way. We had limited in-person rehearsal time, but every email, text, Zoom and live rehearsal experience stemmed from a shared devotion to (self) enquiry and effort to understand the personal and universal struggles most of us have around "belonging".
When I emigrated to the States from Hong Kong as a teenager, I struggled hard to fit in, acculturate, belong. The social codes and cues were totally new and often didn't make sense to me, and I missed Hong Kong and the familiar. I tried to belong by practicing adjusting my speech patterns (higher, faster), dressing differently, taking up new hobbies. But cosmetic shifts aren't soul deep. There was no magic moment of transition where I suddenly felt a sense of belonging...that has come slowly, incrementally, and as a function of untethering myself from social molds and expectations."
"What I valued so much about putting this program together were the discussions with Fleur, my fellow artist and Asian woman, about our own reactions to the poems as well as sharing our thoughts about how we both grew up. Musical collaborations always bring these kinds of connections, and they are always such a gift towards growing in spirit and our experience of the world around us."
- Myra Huang
This concert will include the premiere of Aural Compass Projects' first commissioned work, Bright Fear with music by Raymond Yiu and text by Mary Jean Chan.
Joining our main artists will be cellist Coleman Itzkoff and dancers Lyndsey Britten and Lauren Herrmann.
Chen Yi | Bright Moonlight
Kamala Sankaram | The Far Shore
Kai-Young Chan | Hard it is to Meet and Part
Fang Man | Lullaby
Chinese folksong | Northeast Lullaby
Hailed as a “charismatic star” by the Boston Globe and as “a knockout performer” by The Times, British-Singaporean mezzo Fleur Barron is a 2018 HSBC Laureate of the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the recipient of the 2016 Grace B. Jackson Prize from the Tanglewood Music Festival, awarded to one outstanding young singer each year. A passionate interpreter of chamber music, concert works and opera ranging from the baroque to the contemporary, Fleur is mentored by Barbara Hannigan.
Committed to exploring how music can facilitate cross-cultural dialogue and healing, Fleur is a member of the Hope Collective and has mentored young musicians in Asia, South Africa, Europe and the U.S. Born in Northern Ireland to a British father and a Singaporean mother, Fleur grew up in the Far East and has also spent considerable time in New York and London.
In the 20-21 season, Fleur has significant house and role debuts, including Opera Philadelphia as Museum Curator in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Woman with Eyes Closed; Arizona Opera in the title role of Carmen; Olga in Eugene Onegin at Garsington Opera; a reprise of Ottavia in L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Opéra Royal de Versailles; and Mercedes in Carmen with Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
On the concert platform, Fleur performs Chausson’s Poème de l’Amour et de la Mer with the Orchestre Symphonique de Toulon, and joins regular collaborator, Julius Drake, for several recitals, including at Het Concertgebouw, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and at multiple venues in the U.K. In addition, Fleur has recitals at Aldeburgh with Jocelyn Freeman, at the Cannes Music Festival in France with Patrick Nebbula, and records the complete songs of Samuel Barber with pianist Dylan Perez for the Resonus Classics label.
Fleur holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University.
Acclaimed by Opera News as being "among the top accompanists of her generation," and "...a colouristic tour de force" by The New York Times, Grammy® Award-nominated pianist Myra Huang performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. Highly sought after for her interpretation of lieder and art song as well as her depth of musicianship and impeccable technique, she regularly performs with acclaimed opera singers around the world.
Last season Huang performed in recitals throughout the U.S., including The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center, The Aspen Music Festival, Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan, Shriver Hall at Johns Hopkins University, and The Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Huang made her 92nd St Y debut in March, 2020 with mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, one of the first concerts that was streamed online during the covid-19 pandemic, which was viewed by over 77,000 people around the world from over 125 countries.
Huang has served on the music staffs of the Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and The Palau De Les Arts in Valencia, Spain. Huang is on the music staff of The Atkins Program in The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, The Steans Music Institute at Ravinia, The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, as well as a faculty member of The Manhattan School of Music in the department of Opera Studies. During the pandemic season, Huang has performed on the Metropolitan Opera At-Home Gala, the LA Opera At-Home Gala, The New York Festival of Song Gala, The Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago Festival, as well as on recitals broadcasted live from The Schubert Club and Open Space Music Series.
Huang is an avid recitalist and recording artist. Her recordings have received critical acclaim from the New York Times, Gramophone UK, Opera News, and The Boston Globe. Her recent album Gods and Monsters with tenor Nicholas Phan was nominated for the “Best Classical Vocal Solo Album” category at the 2018 Grammy® Awards. Huang is a Steinway Artist.
Lyndsey Britten (she/her) is a Chinese-Canadian choreographer, performer, and instructor, originally from Vancouver, BC. Throughout the pandemic, she has been fortunate enough to create and perform in a variety of online pieces: including a dance number with her brother Spencer Britten for the Wear Yellow Proudly initiative. Trying to find a way to support her community, Lyndsey also created her own online dance company - LVB Workshops. It is an affordable and safe space for everyone, regardless of what level of training they have. It strives to remind us that we all can express our joy through movement.
Mary Jean Chan
Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019). Flèche won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. In Spring 2020, Chan served as guest co-editor at The Poetry Review. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan lives in London and is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University.
Lauren Herrmann is a performing artist currently living in Atlanta. She has performed as soloist and ensemble member with Chicago Repertory Ballet, the Portland Opera, and Point Park University's Conservatory Dance Company. Her diverse training has included studying and performing alongside companies such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, NW Dance Project, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, as well as receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Point Park University.
Hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for his “flawless technique and keen musicality,” cellist Coleman Itzkoff enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. Coleman demonstrates versatility and command of a wide variety of musical styles, equally comfortable with Renaissance and Baroque music played on period instruments as he is with the eclectic and evermore technically challenging music of today. He is a founding member of the acclaimed three-year old AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company) and with this ensemble has begun pushing into the areas of dancing and acting.
Raymond Yiu is a Hong-Kong born, London-based composer, jazz pianist, conductor and writer on music. He is the winner of a BASCA British Composer Award in 2010 (Northwest Wind), and nominated for the same award in 2004 (Beyond the Glass), 2012 (Les Etoiles au Front) and 2013 (The London Citizen Exceedingly Injured) respectively. Originally trained as an engineer, Yiu was self-taught as a composer until he undertook his DMus under the auspice of Julian Anderson at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2009.