Open Space: Songs of Our Distant Presence: Book 1* & Songs of Protest
*World premiere 

Livestream on Sat, June 27, 2020, 7 PM EDT and Sun, June 28, 2020, 7 PM EDT

Tickets ($12) available online at
Jen Shyu:

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (June 18, 2020) — On Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 7 PM EDT and Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7 PM EDT, explore the new reality and current moment with Jen Shyu, multilingual vocalist-composer-multi-instrumentalist-dancer. Listen to the livestreamed world premiere of “Songs of Our Distant Presence: Book 1,” new music composed by Ms. Shyu set to poems written by her Patreon patrons, her mother, and herself. She will also present songs of protest, from testimonies of both Chinese indentured laborers in Cuba who worked alongside African enslaved people in the 19th century and East Timorese women during their struggle for independence from Indonesia in 2002; to her own experience as an Asian American born and raised in a farm town in Illinois and her response to the now. Each night features a mix of different works, some unique to each night. She sings, plays piano, Taiwanese moon lute, and a menagerie of other instruments as well.

Tickets ($12) available online at

Ms. Shyu is donating 50% of her concerts’ ticket sales to the AACM (, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. In her words, “One of the reasons why I am an artist here with you today is because of the dedication and generosity of the AACM. It is not only the inspiration and mentorship this organization’s artists have given me for the last 20 years, but the pure love and commitment to uplifting Black communities around the world, their local and global communities they have so deeply influenced by advocating for and empowering marginalized people through creative music.”

Jen Shyu (pronounced “shoe”; Chinese name: 徐秋雁, Pinyin: Xúqiūyàn) is a multilingual vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, dancer, 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, 2019 United States Artists Fellow, 2016 Doris Duke Artist, and was voted the 2017 DownBeat Critics Poll’s Rising Star Female Vocalist. Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, she speaks 10 languages and—in addition to studying violin, ballet, and opera, the latter at Stanford University—has studied traditional music and dance in Brazil, China, Cuba, East Timor, Indonesia, South Korea, and Taiwan.

She has performed her music at a variety of venues including the Asia Society, Blue Note, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Theater of Korea, Ojai Festival, Roulette, and the Rubin Museum of Art. She has sung in two operas by Anthony Braxton and has also collaborated with many fellow genre-defying artists, including bassist Mark Dresser, pianist Vijay Iyer, flutist Nicole Mitchell, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey. She premiered her solo work Nine Doors—one of The New York Times’ “5 Standout Shows” (2018)—at National Sawdust on June 29, 2017, kicking off a 50-state tour of creativity workshops in rural towns across America, promoting cross-cultural / generational exchange. Her latest solo work, Zero Grasses, premiered on October 30, 2019, at National Sawdust as part of John Zorn’s Commissioning Series.

Ms. Shyu has produced seven albums as a lead artist, including the first female-led and vocalist-led album on Pi Recordings, titled Synastry (2011), with co-bandleader and bassist Mark Dresser. Her album Sounds and Cries of the World (2015) landed on many “Best Of” lists, including those of The New York Times, The Nation, and NPR. Her latest release, Song of Silver Geese (2017), was also highlighted by The New York Times as one of the best recordings of the year.

Currently based in New York City, she is on the Artistic Advisory Council of Roulette Intermedium and is a member of We Have Voice, an artist collective dedicated fostering awareness, inclusion, and the creation of safe(r) spaces in the performing arts community. She also co-founded Mutual Mentorship for Musicians, an initiative and collaborative commissioning series aimed at empowering and elevating marginalized musicians. She is also a Paul Simon Music Fellows Guest Artist and a Steinway Artist.

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Co-founded by violinist Hyeyung Yoon and cellist Gregory BeaverOpen Space Music is an online event series that connects you to a community of listeners and musicians. This is a time when all of us need each other. Everyone needs connection, and we all feel the need acutely during social distancing. Open Space Music provides both music and connection for the price of a movie ticket. Experience live performances of artists, and connect directly with the artists and other audience members through live video calls. Talk with artists and each other, and build lasting love for each other and music. Performers will be paid 97% of ticket sale proceeds. The events take place in a Zoom video call which has the capability of hosting many people at once. The shows are live-streamed from the musicians’ homes and include both live performances and interactive discussions with performers and audience members. You are in control of how you want to experience the event! You can get actively involved, asking questions, talking with the performers and each other, or by typing in the chat. If you would rather sit back and shut off your video so that nobody can see you sipping your tea with your pj’s on, by all means, go ahead! The community for each concert is unique and dynamic.

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