SOUND IS AN OPENING gathers artists of the International Contemporary Ensemble community with dynamic and varied connections to diaspora, and whose work creates, expands, and reframes spaces of home, transformation, and transgression. This first installment – subtitled exhalation – features three unique composer-performers in an exploration of voice, presence, and ritual. The show will feature a world premiere by Charmaine Lee commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble, featuring Rebekah Heller (bassoon), Weston Olencki (trombone), and Josh Modney (violin), as well as solo performances by Jen Shyu and eddy kwon.

Photo Credits:
Jen Shyu by Marco Giugliarelli for Civitella Ranieri Foundation
eddy kwon by Mengwen Cao
Charmaine Lee by Peter Gannushkin

About eddy kwon

eddy kwon (b. 1989) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Lenapehoking. Her practice connects composition, performance, improvisation, dance, and ceremony to explore transformation & transgression, ritual practice as a tool to queer ancestral lineage, and the use of mythology to connect, obscure, and reveal. As a composer-performer and improviser, she is inspired by Korean folk timbres & inflections, textures & movement from natural environments, and American experimentalism as shaped by the AACM. Her work as a choreographer and movement artist embodies an expressive release and reclamation of colonialism’s spiritual imprints, connecting to both Japanese Butoh and a lineage of queer/trans practitioners of Korean shamanic ritual. Learn more at

About Charmaine Lee

Charmaine Lee is a vocalist whose work is predominantly improvised, favoring a uniquely personal approach to expression concerned with spontaneity, playfulness, and risk-taking. Beyond extended vocal technique, Charmaine uses modular synthesis, feedback, and microphones to augment and distort the voice. Learn more at

About Jen Shyu

Jen Shyu is a Timorese-Taiwanese-American multilingual vocalist, composer, instrumentalist, dancer, and producer. As a ritualist, improviser, actress, researcher, educator, and advocate for music traditions worldwide, she plays Taiwanese moon lute, Korean gayageum, er hu, Japanese biwa, Timorese lakadou, violin, piano, and percussion, and sings in improvised languages and existing ones (Indonesian, Malaysian, Javanese, Taiwanese, indigenous Taiwanese languages, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Tetum, Korean, Japanese, etc). Learn more at

The International Contemporary Ensemble’s performances and commissioning activities during the 2021-22 concert season are made possible by the generous support of our board of directors and many individuals as well as The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music Inc., MAP Fund, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Amphion Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Casement Fund, BMI Foundation, as well as public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The International Contemporary Ensemble was the Ensemble in Residence of the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology from 2018 – 2021. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for the International Contemporary Ensemble.