Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai and currently based in New York City, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, activist, and curator for new music, working at the intersection of orchestra, opera, chamber music, theatre, cabaret, musicals, 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 last major 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. She has been hailed by the New York Times as a groundbreaking artist, and was listed by the Washington Post as one of the top 35 female composers. 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 off-Broadway credits include Original Music for David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu (Signature Theatre) and Original Music for Chiori Miyagawa’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (Ohio Theatre).
As a performance artist, solo engagements include the 2012 Guangzhou Art Triennial (China) and the National Academy Museum (U.S.A.). Her ongoing collaborations of installation-performance-video with the Pakistani visual artist Shahzia Sikander have been on view at the Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum, the Tokyo Contemporary Museum of Art, San Francisco Art Institute, Pace Foundation (San Antonio), Hong Kong Art Fair, the Sharjah Biennial (United Arab Emirates), Auckland Art Triennial (New Zealand), Istanbul Biennial (Turkey), and Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh).
An alumna of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Oberlin College (B.M.), and Harvard University (M.A., Ph.D.), Du Yun is currently on the composition faculty at the Peabody Institute 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 Artistic Director of MATA (2014-18), conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival at National Sawdust, and founded of the FutureTradition Initiative in China. In 2018, Du Yun was named one of the 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation.
Du Yun joins us for her first time as Cabrillo Festival composer in residence for the West Coast premiere of her work, Kraken, performed on Saturday, August 3.