Jonathan Chen & Tatsu Aoki
Jonathan Chen & Tatsu Aoki, combine to form their eclectic duo for the opening set of the final day of the CAAJF.
“Asian American Experimentalism” is the event that extrapolates the unique concept experience created during Tatsu Aoki’s collaboration with the Jonathen Chen Orchestra. It is an electro-acoustic soundscape distilled from the reality of the Asian-American existence.
Composer, improviser, and sound artist, Jonathan Chen, creates work through either conceptual foci or through experimentation with materials. His work for electronics often consist of thick layers of fluctuating sounds produced through multiple feedback systems, and at other times a more simple approach such as his installation Amplified (2010), which only involves the light amplification of a person’s voice. As a violinist and violist his improvisational work often emphasizes timbre rather than pitch, either drawing from a wide palette, or honing in on a single sound. Chen has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT; and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. His work has been published by Leonardo Music Journal (MIT Press), the Deep Listening Institute, Asian Improv Records, Interval, and Striking Mechanism, among others.
Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. Born in Tokyo, 1957 into the Toyoakimoto artisan family, a traditional house for training and booking agents for geisha. Aoki was part of his family’s performance crew from the age of four. In the late 1960s, he shifted his energies from the traditional to American pop and experimental music. By the early 1970s, Aoki was active in Tokyo’s underground arts movement as a member of Gintenkai, an experimental ensemble that combined traditional music and new Western forms.
In 1977, Aoki left Tokyo and is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, contributing more than ninety recording projects and touring internationally during the last thirty-five years. Aoki is the Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival.