Byron Au Yong + AARON JAFFERIS
Byron Au Yong (composer) and Aaron Jafferis (writer) created Stuck Elevator (American Conservatory Theater, International Festival of Arts & Ideas) and (Be)longing, a.k.a. Trigger (Virginia Tech Moss Arts Center, MDC Live Arts, International Festival of Arts & Ideas). Current projects include Activist Songbook (Asian Arts Initiative, Montalvo Arts Center). Other projects include Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas (Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts, Jack Straw New Media Gallery, Seattle Symphony Day of Music, Town Hall Seattle) and Surrender: A T’ai Qi Cantata (commissioned by The Esoterics). Au Yong and Jafferis have been in artists-in-residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, New York Theatre Workshop at Dartmouth, three Sundance Institute Theatre Labs, TheatreWorks, Westminster Choir College, Weston Playhouse, Wing Luke Museum, and Yale Institute for Music Theater. Honors include awards from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Creative Capital, Edgerton Foundation, NEFA National Theater Pilot, and Time Warner Foundation. They began collaborating at NYU where they received an MFA in musical theatre writing. Au Yong is based in San Francisco and Jafferis in New Haven.
In Activist Songbook, composer Byron Au Yong and lyricist Aaron Jafferis explore how civil rights organizing and music intersect to inspire action and sustain the fight towards equity. Activist Songbook is a process-oriented work, and the resulting music will offer ways to gather individuals and collects to energize efforts towards counteracting racism and hate crimes. Living between oppression and imagination, Activist Songbook calls for justice and responds with beauty through live performances, informational scores, and instructional recordings that honor the legacy of Asian American activism and option to future possibilities.