My string orchestra, Myths of Origin, will perform at the Vision Festival on Saturday, June 25, 6:30pm. The music is an outgrowth of my years with Butch Morris, organizing the Strings for Leroy Jenkins for Billy Bang and my Spontaneous River Orchestra.

Myths of Origin 

Jason Kao Hwang - composer/conductor/violin

VIOLINS:  Charles Burnham, Mark Chung, Keir GoGwilt, Gwen Laster, Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Rosi Hertlein,Talice Lee, Elena Moon Park, Ben Sutin, Tom Swafford, Johnna Wu 

VIOLAS:  Ginger Dolden, Melanie Dyer, Judith Insell, Pete Lanctot, Eric Salazar 

CELLOS:  Dara Bloom, Kirin McElwain, Lester St. Louis, Tomas Ulrich 

GUITARS:  Che Chen, James Keepnews, Anders Nilsson, Hans Tammen 

STRING BASS:  Ken Filiano 

DRUMS:  Andrew Drury


Jason Kao Hwang’s composition, Myths of Origin, performed by his improvising string orchestra with drums, defies mainstream society’s enduring fetish for Orientalist fantasies, a history woven inextricably into unconscious biases that can, as evident in this past year’s exponential increase of hate crimes against Asian Americans, progress into explicitly racist violence. This music will be performed on March 5, 8pm, at the Zurcher Gallery, 33 Bleeker Street (bet. Lafayette and Bowery). Admission: $20 

Myths of Origin, inspired by jazz, funk, new music, classical and world traditions, forges a unique language, free of genre expectations, to revolutionize our relationships to each other. It will be performed by Jason Kao Hwang’s improvising string orchestra, which is comprised of musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

Through a notated score interacting with improvisations that are shaped by a lexicon of conducting gestures, the orchestra will conjure images of mercurial beauty. Vibrations rise and fall in a life cycle whirling and grooving through consciousness faster than the speed of thought. The flow of spontaneous moments illuminates the possibilities of our journey, revealing truths of who we can become. To be transformed by possibilities grounded in truth, is to transcend all Myths of Origin.


Also looking forward to Vision Festival performances with the Matthew Shipp Quartet (June 22) and Yoshiko Chuma (June 23).

On June 13, 14 and 15 theCreative Music Studio is presenting improvisation workshops at the New School led by Karl Berger, Billy Martin, Walter Thompson, Gabby-Fluke Mogul and myself.  Here's a description my workshop that will be on 6/15, 3:30 - 6PM.

Jason Kao Hwang's workshop: The Individual’s Art of Improvisation: Instincts, Empathy, and Synergy 

In this workshop students will gain insights into the nature and origins of sound to cultivate their unique improvisational language rooted in personal history. Alternate instrumental techniques and visualizations will be explored to expand vocabularies that serve individual expressivity. Playing in combinations ranging from duos to large ensembles, with and without music, with conduction or completely free, students will learn how to trust their instincts and listen with empathy to create spontaneous synergy. Students coming from any genre, jazz, blues, classical, “world” or anything else, are welcome! Prior improvisation experience is not required.


Jason Kao Hwang - composer/violin/viola

Andrew Drury - drum set

Ken Filiano - string bass


Listen to and purchase at


Violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang's trio with Ken Filiano (bass) and Andrew Drury (drums) is one of the most finely honed small groups in the improvised music scene...It all comes together on the closing "Defiance", the telepathic interplay, the storytelling, the rotating narratives and the sterling musicianship.  Robert Bush, New York City Jazz Record. Read Full Review

The veteran New York violinist/violist Jason Kao Hwang, who's worked with Anthony Braxton, William Parker and the late Butch Morris, among others, creates work under his own name that resist categorization:  Sometimes it's jazz, sometimes cham,ber music and sometimes entirely uncategorizable ... Which is to say that this is heavy, profound music. - Philip Freeman, Downbeat Magazine  Read Full Review 

...features playing of the high-wire, rough-and-tumble variety, the trio's expressions rooted in the rapport the musicians have developed over time. Such unpredictability makes for exciting and engaging music, and the greatest takeaway has less to do with the compositions and more with the always evolving interplay between them.  Ron Schepper, 

With 15 years of mutual collaboration and musical understanding, Hwang, Filiano and Drury have developed a natural, fascinating language that is fully expressed on Human Rites Trio. - Filipe Freita,

It's a marriage of complete control and artful abandon that's never short on surprise...Jason Kao Hwang, Ken Filiano and Andrew Drury know themselves well enough to be lost and found in each other's sounds, and that beauty points to what's right with Human Rites Trio's music. - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

The near-12 minute opulence of the pure, thrusting, raw string-shredding expressionism through hybrid Afro-Asian ecumenicism, of the dynamic 'Battle for the Indelible Truth' is a breathtaking work of musical art, in and unto itself, and then the album comes to a close on the fingering-finesse, and drum/percussion, dynamic call and response between composition and improvisation core found within 'Defiance.' - Anne Carlini, Exclusive Magazin

The three virtuoso musicians are recognized for their exploration of the potential offered by the respective instruments. Individual voices intertwine in such a way that at every moment our senses are impacted in an unpredictable and deeply intentional way, creating firm bonds that unite musicians and listeners. - António Branco,

…when it comes to improvised music, I consider Jason’s violin/viola work to be right up there at the TOP! … I give Jason and his bandmates a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99 for this highly engaging sonic experience.   - Rotcod Zzaj, Contemporary Fusion

Read all the complete reviews under Press

Below is a video of Jason Kao Hwang/Human Rites trio with music from the CD.

My thanks to the 2021 Downbeat Critics Poll for their votes. I share their love with all the musicians I have ever played with. We make this music together!