Press


“At first glance, the one predictable thing about Du Yun, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, performer, and multimedia artist, is her unpredictability. Dig deeper, though, and you can sense the conjoined strands of curiosity and compassion that run through everything she makes.”

— Steve Smith, The New Yorker

Du Yun

…relentless originality and unflinching social conscience

The New Yorker

Du Yun’s eclectic, flexible approach to composing, her drive to seek the personal and profound in her work, as well as her masterful prowess as a storyteller have made her one of the most compelling composers of our generation

Lauren Alfano, I care if you listen

Du Yun’s works…are elaborately theatrical, full of collaborations with visual and performance artists and bursting with virtuosic extended techniques. It makes sense that a musician so keen on multimedia approaches would identify a broad range of cultural influences on her style

Zachary Woolfe, New York Times

a high priestess of musical eclecticism…she displays formidable skill for making her influences cohere as visceral, gratifying narratives

Jennifer Gersten, National Sawdust Log

indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge

Allan Kozinn, New York Times

On Selected Works

Opera

Sweet Land

“SWEET LAND made such a huge impression that it has haunted me ever since. I can’t think of anything more zeitgeisty than this immersive environmental work with enraptured scores by Du Yun and Raven Chacon, a phenomenal staging and sensation-inducing performance that allows us to look at our past, the land on which we stand, who we are and what we must mean to one another anew.” 

Mark Swed, LA Times

“The encroaching pandemic hung over “Sweet Land,” an opera performed in a Los Angeles park, but its tales of cultural violence would have been a gut punch under any circumstances.”

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“A bewildering and ghostly new opera. SWEET LAND is a parable of, and fantasia on, Manifest Destiny, performed outdoors at a richly suggestive site. The ending is a miniature masterpiece.” 

Zachary Woolfe, New York Times

“A feat of collaboration and logistics. It’s fashionable today for writers of new operas to tackle contemporary issues, hoping to demonstrate the art form’s relevance and value. SWEET LAND takes the idea many steps further: it gives its subject a complexity and an impact that could be experienced in no other way.” 

Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal

“An astonishing presentation that unfolds like a chillingly beautiful fever dream across several unusual settings spread out in Chinatown’s L.A. State Historic Park. SWEET LAND lingers in the memory with its utterly entrancing music.” 

Falling James, LA Weekly

Angel’s Bone

“audacious and searing… an appallingly good work…Ms. Du’s music obeys only her own omnivorous tastes and assured dramatic instincts… Courageous and memorable performances from all” …”

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times

“Enthralling and always absorbing…. When so much contemporary opera consists of anodyne treatments of established literary texts, it’s bracing to encounter a work as adventurous and thoroughly original as Angel’s Bone.”

Fred Cohen, Opera America

Voted the No.1 Best International Show in Hong Kong in 2018

South China Post

“Devastating… Disturbing, powerful and original”

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

“A powerful score in a top-notch presentation”

Daniel Stephen Johnson, Musical America

Most Online Searched at the 2019 Beijing Music Festival

Digital statistics, Beijing Music Festival

Orchestral

Where We Lost Our Shadows

Describing all the elements risks ending up like a table of world flags. The experience was quite different: unifying and powerfully resonant

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

…these raga-inspired passages were sung by Mr. Sethi on Thursday with both rawness and plaintive delicacy…

…Shayna Dunkelman, a dynamic percussionist, drove episodes of the piece with pummeling drum bursts one moment, tingling effects the next. The vocalist Helga Davis brought radiance to Ms. Du’s tender, high-pitched setting of the Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan’s “Pillow.”

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

With its highly emotional, deep and truthful subject matter, the work welcomes its viewer-listeners to confront for themselves the contemporary experience of refugees.

Stephanie Ann Boyd, I care if you listen

Mantichora

Du Yun’s riveting Mantichora, a 17-minute essay for large string orchestra, heralded a significant voice.

Allan Ulrich, Financial Times

Slow Portraits

In her alluring “Slow Portraits,” Du Yun wrote music to accompany David Michalek’s striking videos of theater performers, slowed down to convey facial expressions in dramatic, exaggerated detail. Ms. Du’s dense, richly textured score provided a soundtrack for these stylized, ultra-expressive movements; ominous music reflected the startled, wide-eyed stare of a woman whose long, diaphanous sleeves billowed delicately across the screen.

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times

…unleashes intense orchestral growling, slithering, shaking and sliding while David Michalek’s equally intense super-slo-mo video portraits unfold on a screen above the stage, showing actors going through assorted movements, gestures and reactions

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

Albums

Dinosaur Scar

Ten Notable Recordings of 2018

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Du Yun’s writing is explosive and complex, combining a disparate palette of timbres in compelling and innovative ways

Amanda Cook, I care if you listen

…blazingly brilliant collection. Best decade album

Jeremy Shatan, AnEarful

“Air Glow”, here adapted for four trumpets, flugelhorn, and electric guitar/bass is irrefutably majestic, like some demented ritual music; “by, of … Lethean” is also stunning, presenting a confounding-ly woven tapestry, perhaps of forgetfulness 

Kevin Coultas, In on the corner

Wild stuff that calls on you to be up for the task

Chris Spector, Midwest Record

Angel’s Bone

Ten Notable Recordings of 2017

Alex Ross, The New Yorker

It’s an important and provocative statement that should be heard — as well as a good introduction to Du’s work

Allan Kozinn, San Francisco Classical Voice

Shark in You

Du Yun is anything but shy or inhibited—she lets it all out in one way or another on every track, in such a way that by the end the listener feels as though s/he has been granted a temporary stay inside the artist’s brain.

New Music Box