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ZERO GRASSES: Workshop & Concert by Vocalist/Multi-Instrumentalist/Composer Jen Shyu

December 13 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm EST

| $20 – $30

Organized by: CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)

Jen Shyu photo by Caterina Di Perri

CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) presents CROSSING BOUNDARIES Concert Series Vol. 11: ZERO GRASSES, curated, created and performed by Steinway Artist, Guggenheim Fellow and USA Fellow JEN SHYU (photo by Caterina Di Perri).

This powerful autobiographical work arose out of an intense period of self-reflection following the sudden death of JEN SHYU’s father and a visit to a fertility clinic. Effortlessly weaving together music, monologue and video projection, SHYU traces the threads of her life to explore the painful terrain of expectation, ambition, longing and love.

Commissioned by John Zorn and premiered Oct 30 at National Sawdust, ZERO GRASSES reunites SHYU with Romanian director Alexandru Mihail, who also directed her acclaimed one-woman show Nine Doors, which premiered at National Sawdust in 2017 and was reprised at last year’s Resonant Bodies Festival.

ZERO GRASSES will be preceded by a video fieldwork presentation plus a short participatory intermedia workshop for the audience (scheduled for 6:30 pm) before the performance, which will begin at 8 pm.

“The title and seed of ZERO GRASSES came from my ongoing collaboration and conversations with Garin Nugroho, the great Indonesian filmmaker and stage director, who directed my first solo theatrical work, Solo Rites: Seven Breaths. In light of Seven Breaths and Nine Doors, we began to discuss the number zero and its power as a metaphor for loss and disconnection, as in the deterioration of humans’ ability to communicate with nature, to read the signs of nature, which is something I was already wanting to manifest artistically. So when John Zorn asked me to create a new work for his series at National Sawdust, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to realize this vision.” — Jen Shyu

The work, she said in an interview with The Jazz Gallery, asks such questions as:

“How can we, as a species, not predict environmental destruction with all of our advanced technology, and similarly, how can we, as individuals, not predict the ending of important relationships? We have so many new ways of communicating, so much new technology, yet things aren’t necessarily becoming more clear.”

Composition, vocals, piano, sound design, Japanese biwa, Taiwanese moon lute, dance: Jen Shyu
Director: Alexandru Mihail
Set and Projection Design: Kristen Robinson and Kate Campbell
Costume Design: Elizabeth Caitlin Ward
Lighting Design: Solomon Weisbard
Keynote Operator: Neil Beckmann
Media Production: Kinetic Expression LLC

This is the eighth and final concert in the series during 2019 and will take place on December 13, 2019 at 8 pm at CRS.

Tickets are $25 in advance $30 at the door. Students and seniors with valid ID can purchase tickets for $20 at the door. Tickets are available online at crsny.org, by phone (212-677-8621), and at CRS.

Here’s a gorgeous music video for one of the songs, “Life As You Envision”:


Jen Shyu has performed with saxophonist and 2014 MacArthur Fellow Steve Coleman since 2003 and has collaborated with many luminaries. Shyu has performed her own music at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, BAM, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Asia Society, Blue Note, National Theater of Korea, etc.

A Stanford graduate in opera with classical violin and ballet training, Shyu won many piano competitions and studied traditional music and dance in Cuba, Taiwan, Brazil, China, South Korea, East Timor and Indonesia. Shyu has won commissions and support from MAP Fund, the NEA, Jerome Foundation, etc., as well as fellowships from the Asian Cultural Council, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc.

Shyu has produced seven albums as a leader, the most recent two included on The New York Times’ Best Albums lists. Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times that her concerts are “the most arresting performances I’ve seen over the past five years. It’s not just the meticulous preparation of the work and the range of its reference, but its flexibility: She seems open, instinctual, almost fearless.”


Now in its second year, CROSSING BOUNDARIES is a performance series devoted to creating unforgettable live art experiences that dissolve boundaries between performers and audiences, traditional and new music, and the local and the global, bringing people together and promoting the awareness that we each possess a limitless creativity inside us. 

The 2019 season of CROSSING BOUNDARIES is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC. LMCC empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Manhattan and beyond.

LMCC logo NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs logo


Event Categories:
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Event Date:
December 13
Event Time:
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
$20 – $30
Event Registration:


CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)


CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing)
123 4th Ave #2
New York, NY 10003 United States
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