Jenny Q Chai
An artist of singular vision, pianist Jenny Q Chai is widely renowned for her ability to illuminate musical connections throughout the centuries. With radical joie de vivre and razor-sharp intention, Chai creates layered multimedia programs and events which explore and unite elements of science, nature, fashion, and art. “Jenny Q Chai, who has studied with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, is following the more eclectic path…” New York Times.
Based in both Shanghai and Paris, Chai’s instinctive understanding of new music is complemented by a deep grounding in core repertoire, with special affinity for Schumann, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel. She is a noted interpreter of 20th-century masters Cage, Messiaen, and Ligeti, and her career is threaded through with strong relationships and close collaborations with a range of notable contemporary composers, including Marco Stroppa, Jarosław Kapuściński, and György Kurtág. With a deft poetic touch, Chai weaves this wide-ranging repertoire into a gorgeous and lucid musical tapestry.
Chai is also a vital champion and early tester of the groundbreaking synchronous score following software program, Antescofo. Developed at IRCAM by scientist Arshia Cont and composer Marco Stroppa, the software offers a real time computer and animation response to live performance elements, enabling performers to create multimedia presentations of sophisticated and expressive fluency. Chai explored and helped hone Antescofo in residence at IRCAM (alongside frequent collaborator, Jarosław Kapuściński) and has since toured internationally with the software, offering multimedia performances in Shanghai, New York, Havana, and elsewhere.
Other notable highlights include her Carnegie Hall debut in 2012; many performances at (le) Poisson Rouge, including a 2016 Antescofo-supported program, Where’s Chopin?; lectures and recitals at the Shanghai Symphony Hall; a featured performance at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Havana, Cuba; Philippe Manoury’s double-piano concerto, Zones de turbulences, at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music (with duo partner, pianist Adam Kośmieja and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra); and much more.
Her immersive approach to music is also channeled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organization she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond. Additionally, Chai serves on the Board of Directors of the New York City-based contemporary music organization Ear to Mind, and has published a doctoral dissertation on Marco Stroppa’s Miniature Estrose.
Chai has recorded for labels such as Deutschlandfunk, Naxos, and ArpaViva. In 2010, she released her debut recording, New York Love Songs – features interpretations of works by Cage and Ives, among others – and her most recent recording, Life Sketches: Piano Music of Nils Vigeland was released in 2014 by Naxos. She can also be heard on Michael Vincent Waller’s Five Easy Pieces and Cindy Cox’s Hierosgamos.
The recipient of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust’s 2011 Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project, the DAAD Arts and Performance award in 2010, and first prize winner of the Keys to the Future Contemporary Solo Piano Festival, Jenny Q Chai has studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and in Cologne University of Music and Dance. Her teachers include Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Seymour Lipkin, Solomon Mikowsky, and Anthony de Mare.