My new CD VOICE was nominated for a Grammy by Innova Records. VOICE is comprised of two sets,  Lifelines and Words of Our Own.  Lifelines features Deanna Relyea (voice) and Piotr Michalowski (sopranino sax/bass clarinet) with my EDGE quartet: Taylor Ho Bynum - cornet/flugelhorn), Andrew Drury (drum set), Ken Filiano (string bass) and myself (composer/violin).  Words of Our Own features Tom Buckner (voice), Joe McPhee (tenor sax/pocket trumpet),  William Parker (string bass), Sang Won Park (kayagum/ajeng) and myself (composer/viola).  We perform the poetry of Lester Afflick, Patricia Spears Jones, Davida Singer, Fay Chiang, Steve Dalachinsky and Yuko Otomo.  

Here are some recent reviews:

The performing challenges are immense, not only in the extreme virtuosity of the music, but also in having to move from the jagged to the lyrical in the blink of an eye. Jason Kao Hwang yields nothing to previous performers of repertoire such as this in penetrating the depth and breadth of emotion that the poetry conveys, and it helps that this is a fabulous recording, allowing the wide range of tone, colour and dynamics to be heard to full effect.  Raul da Gama, World Music Report  Read Full Review
 

This album is a landmark in vibrant, truly synthetic conjunctions of words and musical expressions, of the state-of-the-art in the avant today, with the world, history and time conjoined in two unified suites of great power and merit. It is a blockbuster and a tribute to the imaginative thrust of Jason Kao Hwang and his collaborative associates.  Grego Applegate Edwards, gapplegatemusicreview,  Jan, 27, 2016  Read Full Review
 

VOICE, Hwang's recent release on Innova (and reviewed here), offers a striking example of his audacious artistic sensibility, and it was this striking fusion of poetry and improvised instrumental accompaniment that prompted me to contact Hwang for the following exchange. - Ron Schepper, Textura.com, Feb. 2016  Read Full Interview

Textura.com, ALBUM OF THE MONTH, February, 2016   Read online

As a project, VOICE constitutes a refreshingly bold move on Hwang's part. It would have been easy for him to have recorded a handful of instrumentals with the musicians involved, and such a project might have been an easier sell, too. But in taking on a voice-based project, he's accomplished something impressive, not to mention something more memorable for being so rarely attempted. - Ron Schepper, Textura.com, Feb., 2016  Read Full Review

 It is a music full of emotions, which transcend those that are the traditional techniques, what matters here is improvisation, the inspiration of the moment, exercised collectively.  - Vittorio Lo Conte, musiczoon.it  Read full review

Two sequences of poems by a variety of poets, with music composed by violinist Hwang with some room for improvisation, each set with a different ensemble.  “Lifelines” has mezzo Deanna Reyea, new to me, a fascinating voice and delivery, sort of improvised, sort of sprechstimme.  - Steven Koenig, Acoustic Levitation, Best of 2015  Read full article

Best of 2015, Acoustic Levitation, Craig Nixon   Link to online listing
***** This is a multifaceted experience – one that extends the range of music and feeling and poetry and life.  - Grady Harp, January 16 Read Full Review


The brilliant violinist, virtuoso violinist and composer Jason Kao Hwang occupies a privileged place at the forefront of jazz and creative music of our time...Voice launch will take place in January 2016 and its edition will be in charge of Innova Recordings label. - Sergio Piccirilli, El Intruso  Read full preview

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The BBC has broadcasted two of my compositions performed by Sing House at the  recent Vision Festival in NYC
 

Sing House, my quintet with Andrew Drury (drums), Ken Filiano (string bass), Chris Forbes (piano), Steve Swell (trombone) and myself (composer/ violin/ viola), had a great gig at Vision Festival 20.  We recently completed the recording of our first CD, to be released in 2017. Info

The music is moving forward.
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My students of Sound Image, a sound design course that I teach at NYU's Undergrad Department of Film and TV, created some great final projects!
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Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion,  a superb show produced by the NY Historical Society, had a great run in NYC this past spring. It will re-open at the Oregon Historical Society in January, 2016.  I was honored to have scored music for the concluding video exhibit.  There is also an exhibit with 8mm films of my family.   Info
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Listen to Kevin Whitehead's review of Burning Bridge on National Public Radio's Fresh Air.  Listen
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I enjoyed my annual lecture at the Queens College Summer Youth Program.  Kids are accepted on a competitive basis, so they are highly motivated and sharp.
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My students of Sound Image, a sound design course that I teach at NYU's Undergrad Department of Film and TV, created some great final projects!
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Zilzal, my duos with Ayman Fanouse (guitar/ bazooka), was selected as one of the Top CDs of 2014 by All About Jazz in  Italy.  Zilzal was also voted into the second round of the Grammy Awards.

Previous events

Dec4

Jason Kao Hwang - Arts for Art Fundraiser

LOWLINE Lab, 140 Essex St., New York City

Reception followed by concert $100 Friends $50 Artists

Performing music by Billy Bang and Leroy Jenkins

Jason Kao Hwang: Conductor, Arranger, Violin

Violins: Sarah Bernstein, Skye Steele, Rosi Herlein, Helen Yee, Leonor Falcon, Ben Sutin, Fredrika Krier, Aimee Niemann

Viola: Melanie Dyer, Joanna Mattrey

Cello: Dan Levin

Bass: Todd Nicholson, Hill Greene, Ken Filiano

Drums Andrew Drury

Oct28

Edgefest presents Jason Kao Hwang/Burning Bridge

Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. 4th Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan

Jason Kao Hwang/Burning Bridge

World Premiere: blood

Jason Kao Hwang - composer/violin Taylor Ho Bynum - cornet Joe Daley - tuba Andrew Drury - drum set Ken Filiano - string bass Sun Li - pipa Wang Guowei - erhu Reut Regev - trombone

blood meditates upon the emotional traumas of war retained within the body as unspoken vibrations that reverberate throughout communities and across generations. Through blood the violence of deeply held memories are not relived but transposed into our sound and liberated into song. blood in our sound rises within our voice to protest and defy humanity’s constant state of war. blood regenerates to entrain an infinite spectrum of waves into wholeness and strength.

One evening, while driving down an unlit highway, my headlights flashed upon the bleeding carcass of a deer. My heart rate thundered and air abandoned my lungs with explosive force as I swerved away, narrowly avoiding a collision. This experience made me reflect upon my mother’s harrowing experiences in World War II in China. She was in a pharmacy that was bombed by the Japanese. Knocked unconscious, she awoke as the lone survivor surrounded by the dead. I also thought about the musicians who fought in Viet Nam, like Billy Bang and Butch Morris. The magnitude of shock and sorrow that they endured is unimaginable.

Extreme danger triggers a “fight or flight” response, powerful, diametrically opposed forces. This intense conflict can produce an immobility response, which can penetrate and remain within the body as emotional trauma. Similarly, when a bomb explodes, there is blast wave outward that leaves a near vacuum in its wake, which is filled by an equally deadly blast wind in the opposite direction. Within an explosion, blood was created.

Jun12

Vison Festival 21: Patrician Nicholson's Breath and Stone

Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, New York City, NY

Patricia Nicholson - dance, words; David Mills - poetry; Yoshiko Chuma, Djassi DaCosta Johnson - dance; ​Jason Kao Hwang - violin, viola; Michael TA Thompson - drums. Appear later: Mike Reed's Flesh and Bone, James Brandon Lewis Trio, 3 Sopranos and per, and Kidd Jordan Ensemble

Jun11

Vision Festival 21: Wadada Leo Smith Viola Quartet + Electronics, 'Pacifica'

Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, New York City, NY

Jason Kao Hwang, Stephanie Griffin, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Gwen Lester - viola, Hardedge - electronics, Wadado Leo Smith - trumpet. The evening starts at 7pm. Also appearing: Wadada Leo Smith(trumpet), Miriam Parker (dance), Joe Wood Brown (installation); Hamiet Bluiett Quartet; and David Mills (poet)

May6

Chicago String Summit (w/Tomeka Reid Stringtet)

The Constellation, The Constellation at 3111 N. Western Ave. , Chicago, Illinois

I will play viola in composer/cellist Tomeka Reid. The band: Mazz Swift, Peter Maunu (violins), Silivia Bolognesi (string bass), and Mikel Patrick Avery (drums). ALSO PERFORMING: Okyung Lee (solo cello) and the trio of Peggy(cello) Lee, Aram Bajakian (electric guitar) and JP Carter (trumpet/electronics)

May3

WKCR broadcast of VOICE with interviews of Jason Kao Hwang, Tom Buckner, Deanna Relyea, Piotr Michalowski, Yuko Otomo, Steve Dalachinsky

WKCR Radio (89.9 FM)

WKCR host Mert Ussakli will play the entirety of my new CD VOICE. The show was recorded last week. We had an interesting discussion with the poets, singers and musicians.