No matter how lyrics are sung or what language they are sung in, there is one sure thing: baritone David Won is a rising star in the international opera world.
“Right now, we’re at a time when we’re just bubbling. When all Asian artists come together and start to realize each other’s work ethics, it’s going to be great,”
Through his role as a University of Washington professor and a professional musician, the Vietnamese trumpeter is on a mission to revitalize the jazz scene here in the Pacific Northwest.
Jenny Ku’s apartment is cloaked in sequins, feathers, and fishnet stockings. Her laptop is red — a shade almost as bright as her lipstick — and so is her tea kettle, which brewed jasmine tea on one of spring’s sunnier days. But that doesn’t compare to the 17 pairs of peep-toe pumps peeking out from her rows of boas, dresses, and masks.
It’s the sound of the carillon, a beloved campus feature dating back nearly a century, in one form or another. The chimes each hour are preprogrammed, but if you hear other tunes emanating from Denny — perhaps as you pass on a foggy morning with coffee in hand — that’s the work of Gabriel Manalac, a graduate student in music who was born in the Philippines.
Apart from opera singing, what does Yu Seok Oh, a 30-year-old, Korean-born baritone based in Shoreline, have in common with renowned opera singers Renée Fleming, Ben Heppner, and Hei-Kyung Hong?
Like many Asian Americans, Edwaard Liang spent a part of his youth dabbling in various performing arts, whether it was playing the violin or being involved with martial arts. Yet, it was dance that has allowed him to build a respectable career as one of the most critically acclaimed ballet dancers and choreographers in the world.
Wu wasn’t the only one with a perspective on Asian American youth and classical music. The Tacoma Youth Symphony’s other Chinese American co-concertmaster Tonya Yu, its former Korean American member Suzee Hong, and Kenneth Truong, a Vietnamese American member of the Garfield Orchestra, also elaborated on the role that classical music plays in their lives.
Born in Taiwan, Carolyn Kuan is not only Seattle Symphony’s first woman assistant conductor, she is also the first Asian American to hold the position. On Jan. 22 Kuan is slated to conduct the symphony for Celebrate Asia!, an event which will feature violinist Chuanyun Li and instrumentalist Li Bo, who plays the Mongolian morin khuur.
For singer-songwriter Marié Digby, each of her songs tells a story about her life. While on tour this past week at the Triple Door to promote her second album, “Breathing Underwater,” Digby explained to the audience that she prefers songwriting when she feels inspired or emotional about an event.