This November 19th at 7 PM EST, Sound Off: Music for Bail presents a LIVE concert at the People’s Forum, featuring string quartet music in support of Red Canary Song, a NYC-based massage workers’ collective formed in 2017 that received renewed attention in the wake of the 2021 Atlanta spa shootings that targeted vulnerable Asian women. In their own words, Red Canary Song “began [their] organizing in a fight for justice and police accountability after the death of Flushing massage worker Yang Song, who was killed during a police raid in November 2017. [It] started as a project to provide legal support for her family and help her mother pay for healthcare expenses.”
Among the musical selections will include Wu Man’s “Muqaddima” (English: Introduction), a free arrangement and tribute to Uyghur music from Xinjiang, Rhiannon Gidden’s “At The Purchaser’s Option”, a piece inspired by the composer finding an antebellum-era advertisement for a 22-year old enslaved woman and also her 9-month child “at the purchaser’s option”, and Dai Wei’s “Partial Men”, a thought-provoking electroacoustic meditation written after her mother received an organ donation. Wei, who was named one of the Washington Post’s “22 for ‘22” composers and performers to watch this year, will join Sound Off in the performance of her work.
Funds generated go first to pay fees for speakers and performers, and above that are directed either to the Bail Project or to an organization the featured speaker represents.
Wu Man / traditional, from Chebiyat Muqam – “Muqaddima”, from “Glimpses of Muqam Chebiyat”
Rhiannon Giddens, arranged by Jacob Garchik – At the Purchaser’s Option
Yong Cheng Qin – Ode to Sea
Dai Wei – Partial Men
George Walker – Lyric for Strings
Jessie Montgomery – Strum
Dai Wei is a composer and vocalist whose musical journey navigates in the spaces between east and west, classical and pop, electronic and acoustic, innovation and tradition. She often draws from eastern philosophy and aesthetics to create works with contemporary resonance, and reflects an introspection on how these multidimensional conflicts and tension can create and inhabit worlds of their own. Being an experimental vocalist, she performs herself as a Khoomei throat singer in her recent compositions, through which are filtered by different experiences and backgrounds as a calling that transcends genres, races, and labels. She was recently featured in The Washington Post’s “22 for 22’: Composers and Performers to Watch this year.”
Described as “impassioned” by The New York Times, “with a striking humanity” by The Washington Post, and “incredibly creative and dynamic” by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, she was awarded CANOA Commission (Composing a New Orchestra Audience) from the American Composer Orchestra Underwood New Music Reading. Her newly composed chamber orchestra Invisible Portals, conducted by Marin Alsop, premiered at Carnegie Hall in March 2022. Her orchestral work, Samsāric Dance is featured at New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Edward Cone Composition Institute in July 2022.
Her music has received commissions and performances by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Reno Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Bang on a Can, and Aizuri String Quartet. Upcoming projects include new works for Alarm Will Sound, Curtis Symphony Orchestra 2023 West Coast and Asia Tour, Carnegie Hall Link Up program, and her new album. Wei is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition at Princeton University.
Lara Lewison is a violinist from Mukilteo, WA. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in Music, where she studied violin with Maja Cerar. She was the class recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, for her works in various art disciplines including visual, music, performance, and music.
Lara was a two-time violin fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she performed as a co-concertmaster of the TMCO, and has participated in Lucerne Festival Academy. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras local to Washington State, including the Bremerton Symphony. She is a member of varied chamber groups, including BlackBox Ensemble, a new music ensemble, the Intimate Artistry String Quartet, an improvising movement/noise quartet, and Melodica Drone and Bach Quartet, where she plays melodica. She also performs as a section violinist in Symphony in C, and as a substitute with Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
Lara also works as a freelance VR/AR developer and visual artist.
Yoon Jung Hwang (she/her) is a NYC-based violinist from Korea. As a chamber musician, she has been featured at the Montclair Music Club and as string quartet musician with the Cell Theater’s recent production of “The Final Veil”. Orchestral performances have seen her on the Holland America Line Rotterdam with RWS Entertainment, premiering works with the Next Festival of Emerging Artists and Composers Concordance, and repeat appearances at Birdland with clarinetist/saxophonist Ken Peplowski in sold-out performances of Charlie Parker’s eponymous album standards with strings.
Yoon Jung has had masterclasses with Yura Lee, Gregory Fulkerson, and Lewis Kaplan, and is an adjunct faculty at New York University. She was admitted to Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China when she was 12 years old, and later attended the Aaron Copland School of Music to study with professor Daniel Phillips where she was the recipient of the LeFrak Fund/Endowment Scholarship, the Cantor S. Katz Scholarship, and Benno and Evelyn Feldmann-Ansbacher Scholarship. Additional studies include degree work at the New School and the Manhattan School of Music.
Fun fact: Yoon Jung was featured in Kyung Hyang Newspaper when she was 7 years old for being the youngest accompanist in a Korean Catholic church.
Originally from Uniondale, New York, 25-year old first-generation Filipino-American Jay Julio (they/them) is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and composer-arranger currently based in NYC. Jay is the Assistant Principal Violist of the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra, a section member of the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and Symphony in C, substitute violist with the Phoenix, Memphis, Virginia, Fort Worth, and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and has been invited to play with the American Composers Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, PROTESTRA, and the Metropolis Ensemble. They have shared the stage with Broadway singers, pop stars, and classical music’s hottest young talents in performances from Washington D.C. to the Philippines, and can be heard on Captured Tracks, Fiendish Endeavor, and Broadway Records. They appeared in the official collaborative music video for Major Lazer & Marcus Mumford’s single, Lay Your Head On Me, released as a fundraiser for COVID-19 research efforts, recently performed with Nigerian artist Burna Boy in his Hollywood Bowl debut, and have been invited by British icons Foreigner to join their California orchestral performances. Their compositions and arrangements have been heard at the Cannes Film Festival and at New York Fashion Week and performed by soprano-double bass duo confluss.
Jay has attended the Music Academy of the West, Orpheus@Mannes, the New York String Orchestra Seminar and the Aspen, Pacific, Thy, Spoleto and Lake Tahoe music festivals; they have also spent summers at the Yellow Barn Young Artists Program and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute as a Young Artist of Color. They have served as a Teaching Fellow at the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, instructed at Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Stony Brook University Chamber Strings Camp, and worked as substitute viola & chamber music faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division.
A prizewinner in national competitions held by the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Music Teachers National Association and recipient of a 2019 Juilliard Career Grant, Jay is indebted to the Virtu Foundation and the American Viola Society for their past support through instrument and bow loans. They were recipient of a 2020 Music Academy of the West Fast Pitch Award for their music-meets-prison-analysis organization Sound Off: Music for Bail, which was also recently awarded a 2021 Juilliard Career Grant to further an upcoming recording project highlighting string quartet music of Florence Price, George Walker, Yaz Lancaster, and Dorothy Rudd Moore.
After taking their first viola lesson at age 14 at the Mannes Preparatory Division, Jay graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy at 16 studying with Renee Skerik with their highest musical honor, the Young Artist Award, received their BM in Viola Performance from the Manhattan School of Music under Karen Ritscher on full scholarship, and received their MM at the Juilliard School on a full-tuition Susan W. Rose Fellowship under the tutelage of Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. Other important mentors include Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti and Lina Bahn. For rhythm, Jay studies poetry, and was a finalist in the 2021 Mississippi Review & Meridian poetry prizes. Their writing can be found in Room Magazine, Poetry Online, Winter Tangerine Review, Barrelhouse Mag, and more.
They are a proud member of AFM Local 47, 33, 77 and 802, the Justice Committee, and the IWW.
Lauded as “vibrant” and “gifted” (Chicago Classical Review), Chicago-born Filipino-American cellist Ezra Escobar (he/him) maintains a prolific output as a multigenre cellist, composer, arranger, and music producer. He made his orchestral debut at age 16 with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and was a guest soloist with the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra. Other concert engagements include the Young Steinway Concert Series, the Evanston Chamber Music Festival, and the Waukegan Chamber Music Society.
Ezra has won prizes at the DePaul Concerto Festival, the Chinese Fine Arts Society Music Festival in Honor of Confucius, and the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, and his compositions have premiered at Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia Festival and the Heifetz Institute. He is a resident artist of the Fil-Am Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting exceptional Filipino classical musicians through scholarship assistance and performance opportunities.
Ezra is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the Mannes School of Music under the tutelage of Marcy Rosen, having previously studied with Dr. Tanya Carey at the Music Institute of Chicago. Additional studies include master classes with Johannes Moser, Hans Jensen, Timothy Eddy, Colin Carr, & Amit Peled, among others.