Chromic Duo To Perform Free Rudder Forum Concert, Take Part In Classes During Campus Visit
The Texas A&M School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts will host Chromic Duo in classroom collaborations and a free concert at Rudder Forum on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Musicians Dorothy Chan and Lucy Yao blend classical music, toy piano and electronics into performances and installations that span multiple genres. The pair are also grand prize winners of the Young Classical Artists Trust and Concert Artists Guild Competition.
Chan and Yao will be a part of multiple classes in the school during their stay, exploring augmented reality, composition, theatre, design visualization and performance with students.
The free performance, titled “From Roots We Carry,” will encapsulate story narration from Chan and Yao as they play toy piano and electronics. It was premiered in Dumbo, Brooklyn, in October 2022, and is a collaboration with Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakiyya.
The inspiration for the piece started with the duo asking people in the Asian-American community about their heritage, Chan said.
“Everybody started to reflect on their roots and things they inherited from their families,” Chan said. “The things we inherit affect who we are and who we want to become. And having that awareness allows us to keep the things we want to honor and let go of those that don’t serve us anymore.”
Yao called the show a performance ritual in which they will ask the audience to reflect on their past and their family history and discuss what they wish to carry on in the future. The goal is to have audience members walk away with an understanding of how influential the past can be while preparing for what is ahead, Yao said.
“How do we think about the future?” she said. “That is something that is really influencing how we address our goals as artists and community gatherers, and how we start opening the door for people to reimagine spaces and use tools that are already part of their lives. We want to empower students into reimagining how software and technology can be a tool to make art more accessible and form new possibilities for connecting to an audience.”
Yao lives in New York and was born in Michigan, with family roots in Shanghai, China. Chan grew up in colonial Hong Kong, China, and lives in Washington, D.C.
Chromic Duo found its start in 2018 after the artists met at the New England Conservatory of Music and played at the Summer Institute of Contemporary Performance Practice Festival. Yao saw Chan playing the toy piano and said she wanted to learn more about the tiny instrument. They became friends and started playing together.
Chan was drawn to the toy piano sound, and found there was a wide variety because they are often made with different materials. Chan also plays Chinese flute, and Yao also plays cello.
“We tried to explore ways we could create music,” Yao recalled. “Following the pandemic, we started to branch out to augmented reality and other multidisciplinary ways of art and installations, and examining our past and our histories to see how we could tell stories through our music.”
By showcasing multidisciplinary art to students, it allows them to think about new ways to tell stories, Yao said.
“Art has to resonate with the artist before you give it to anyone else,” she said. “There are so many ways of collaborating. I hope students walk away knowing there is always a possibility.”
Chan said she hopes students can find belonging through their art and feel the work they produce is part of who they are.
“I hope they can put their real selves out there,” she said. “I feel like that is the start of being inspired, being motivated. I think at a young age, it is crucial for students to have that platform to be able to do that.”