This performance is a preview of a work-in-progress untitled Comfort Girl.
Comfort Girl is a musical exploration of the lives of Chinese 'comfort women' who were abducted into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during WWII. The work is a tribute to these young women’s incandescent courage and indomitable spirit, not only while in captivity during the War but also—in a cruel irony—when they returned home to their families, who didn’t always welcome them back with open arms.
Comfort Girl was made possible by a grant from the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation.
This performance of Comfort Girl is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
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Stephanie Chou - voice, alto saxophone, compositions
Andy Lin - erhu, viola, violin
Isamu McGregor - piano
Kelly Lin - piano
Kenny Wollesen - drums, percussion
James Wordsworth - voice
Stephanie Chou is a saxophonist, singer, and composer based in New York City. Her music combines classical and Chinese influences with jazz and pop harmonies and rhythms. Raised in Irvington, NY, Chou studied music and mathematics at Columbia University. In 2011, she released her first album, Prime Knot, a jazz quintet CD featuring trumpeter Marcus Printup (Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra). She has written for ballet and theater as well as for the concert stage. Her work “C for G” was commissioned and choreographed by American Ballet Theater principle ballerina Susan Jaffe, and features Kenny Wollesen on percussion and vibraphone. It was premiered in 2012 at Goucher College, Maryland.
Steph recently released a new album, Asymptote, which features jazz musicians Kenny Wollesen, John Escreet, David Binney, and Zack Lober, as well as viola and erhu virtuoso Andy Lin. She has performed her music in Taipei, Taiwan and Beijing, China. She has also performed throughout New York City at venues including Carnegie Hall, B.B. King's, Miller Theater, Drom, and The Cutting Room, as well as in festivals in Italy, New Orleans, Chicago, Vermont (Discover Jazz Festival), and NY (Summer on the Hudson, Harlem Festival of the Arts, Sunset Jazz at Lyndhurst). In 2014 she formed a duo with guitarist Octavia Romano. While appearing frequently around New York City, they released their first CD, Compass, in early 2016.
She is a recipient of the 2016 Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund) - a grant from the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation to write, record, and premiere a new piece of music with China Institute. She is currently working on new projects with engineer/mixer/producer Roy Hendrickson, and also performs as a guest artist for workshops on leadership and jazz with the Columbia University Business School.