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Artist & Scholar Residencies

The Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS) brings performers and scholars to campus through the Artist Residency program. Bridging scholarship and performance, these residencies include class visits, demonstrations, public presentations, community engagement and performances.

Academic Year 2019-2020

Jen Shyu | Zero Grasses
in residence March 24-27

Center for World Performance Studies hosts groundbreaking vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer Jen Shyu for an artist residency, including a performance of her new multilingual multimedia show Zero Grasses. In this mythical monodrama, Shyu effortlessly weaves together music, monologue and video projection, tracing the threads of her life to explore the painful terrain of expectation, ambition, longing and love. A performance of the piece will take place in the Video Studio at the James and Anne Duderstadt Center on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30pm, and it is free and open to the public.

Zero Grasses was commissioned by John Zorn’s Stone Commissioning series and premiered in October 2019 at National Sawdust. It is sung in English, Taiwanese, Tetum of East Timor, Korean, Javanese, and Indonesian. The work features Shyu’s original music as well as some traditional music from these countries, with movement and installation art that carry the essence of these specific vocal and dance traditions. Shyu will accompany her voice with Taiwanese moon lute, gayageum, piano, violin, dance, and electronics.

A central theme of this residency will be Shyu’s work in as a teaching artist, including two community engagement workshop performances during the residency -- an intergenerational potluck, hosted in East Quad, and a workshop for high school students in Ypsilanti, MI. The potluck aims to engage faculty and staff and their families, alongside students from RC Music Programs. Shyu’s community engagement performances are designed around intercultural song exchange, and she is currently doing this work as part of a 50 state tour funded by the Doris Duke Performing Artist Fund and MAP Fund.

Jen Shyu ("Shyu" pronounced "Shoe" in English, Chinese name: 徐秋雁, Pinyin: Xúqiūyàn) is a groundbreaking, multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, 2019 United States Artists Fellow, 2016 Doris Duke Artist, and was voted 2017 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Female Vocalist. Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, Shyu is widely regarded for her virtuosic singing and riveting stage presence, carving out her own beyond-category space in the art world. She has performed with or sung the music of such musical innovators as Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Bobby Previte, Chris Potter, Michael Formanek and David Binney. Shyu has performed her own music on prestigious world stages such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Ojai Festival, Ringling International Arts Festival, Asia Society, Roulette, Blue Note, Bimhuis, Salihara Theater, National Gugak Center, National Theater of Korea and at festivals worldwide.

A Stanford University graduate in opera with classical violin and ballet training, Shyu had already won many piano competitions and performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto (3rd mvmt.) with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra by the age of 13. She speaks 10 languages and has studied traditional music and dance in Cuba, Taiwan, Brazil, China, South Korea, East Timor and Indonesia, conducting extensive research which culminated in her 2014 stage production Solo Rites: Seven Breaths, directed by renowned Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho. Shyu has won commissions and support from NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, MAP Fund, US-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship from Japan-US Friendship Commission and National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works, Exploring the Metropolis, New Music USA, Jazz Gallery, and Roulette, as well as fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, Asian Cultural Council, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korean Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism.

Shyu has produced seven albums as a leader, including the first female-led and vocalist-led album Pi Recordings has released, Synastry (Pi 2011), with co-bandleader and bassist Mark Dresser. Her critically acclaimed Sounds and Cries of the World (Pi 2015) landed on many best-of-2015 lists, including those of The New York Times, The Nation, and NPR. Her latest album Song of Silver Geese (Pi 2017) is receiving rave reviews and was also included on The New York Times’ Best Albums of 2017.


Makuyeika: Colectivo Teatral
in residence October 14-19, 2019

In October 2019, Center for World Performance Studies will bring Makuyeika: Colectivo Teatral, founded by U-M alumnus Héctor Flores Komatsu, for a one week artist residency that will include class visits, workshops and two performances of their devised-work Andares. The piece chronicles the lives of indigenous youth in México, and the realities that they face at the crossroads of modern life and tradition. Performances of the piece will take place in the Newman Studio at Walgreen Drama Center on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18 at 8pm. RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE. 

Makuyeika: Colectivo Teatral is a theatre ensemble dedicated to creating original works about the narratives and theatricalities of Mexico’s indigenous people, touching with keen, artistic sensibility themes of great social, cultural, and human value. Meaning “wayfarer” in the language of the Wixarika people, Makuyeika was formed after an extensive search across the country’s indigenous communities, a project undertaken by Flores Komatsu as an inaugural recipient of The Julie Taymor World Theatre Fellowship.

Andares is a theatre creation about the lives of indigenous youth in México, devised collectively through personal anecdotes, ancestral myths, as well as traditional music and art forms. The play shines light on a range of realities — land usurpation, widespread violence, ancestral duties, community resistance, — that indigenous people face at the crossroads of modern life and tradition. Meaning “pathways,”Andares is a genuine, eye-opening, and intimate close-up on Mexico’s most remote corners and the extraordinary stories of its humble, everyday inhabitants.

Héctor Flores Komatsu is an international theatre artist working primarily in Mexico and the United States, and recurrently in the countries of France and Brazil. He was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, México and moved with his family to the United States at age thirteen. He is founder and artistic director of the Makuyeika: Theatre Collective.  HFK has worked with Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne as an apprentice on Battlefield, as an actor on the world tour of The Valley of Astonishment, and as a translator and co-director in the upcoming Spanish-language premiere of The Suit. Héctor received his BFA in Theatre Performance (Directing) from the University of Michigan. Directing highlights: Sotto Voce, Chinglish, The Motherfucker with the Hat, In the Heights. Upcoming works: The Game, or the perpetual rematch, a stage adaptation of the ancient Mayan epic of The Popol Vuh.