Du Yun was born and raised in Shanghai, China and is currently based in New York. She is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, activist, and curator for new music who works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, chamber music, theater, cabaret, oral tradition, public performances, sound installation, electronics, visual arts, and noise. Her body of work is championed by some of today’s finest performing groups and organizations around the world.
She is known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience.” (The New Yorker) Du Yun’s second opera, Angel’s Bone, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, in 2018 she was named a Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2019, she was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Classical Composition category. Her latest collaborative opera, Sweet Land with Raven Chacon (for opera company The Industry), was named the 2021 Best New Opera by the North America Critics Association. Rolling Stone Italia named her one of the best composers of 2010s. As an avid performer and bandleader, her onstage persona has been described as “an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge.”
A community champion, Du Yun was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as the artistic director of MATA Festival (2014-2018); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival; and founded FutureTradition, a global initiative that illuminates the provenance lineages of folk art and uses these structures to build cross-regional collaborations from the ground up.
In 2018, Du Yun was named one of “38 Great Immigrants” by the Carnegie Foundation, and in 2019 the Beijing Music Festival named her “Artist of the Year.” In 2022, she was granted a Creative Capital Award for an AR inter-generational Kun-opera project. Four of her feature studio albums were named The New Yorker’s Notable Recordings of the Year, in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. Asia Society Hong Kong has honored her for her continued contribution in the performing arts field.