Cixian Lu, 31, has embodied the extreme edges of Chinese classical music and culture. Her piano studies began at age 3; she debuted as a Chinese Kun Opera soprano at 12; and she premiered a techno-chamber piece for vocals and piano in Sanskrit at 24. Sacenme Subhute, incorporated chanted Buddhist scriptures, a Chinese Kun soprano, and piano with accordion and electronic sounds approximating water. The piece was a meditation on the question, “Why so?”
More recently, her Shanghai Soundscape and Sound Sculptor multimedia art installations showcased her commitment to offering listeners new ways to hear life’s stories. Through spoken word, electro-acoustic music, and traditional Chinese and European classical instruments, Cixian explores ephemera -- smoke, mists, seasons, emotions, mistakes, cultures, and love.
Dark comedy enters Cixian’s work more than once. A slightly vicious, thoroughly amusing piece of contemporary fiction by Courtney Sender, What to do with the Pain in Your Chest, formed the basis for a work of the same name that premiered on Fresh Squeezed Opera, and Peter Smyth’s colorful comic strip To Never Speak Again provided the text for her eponymous chamber work. In More Than a Number, a multimedia presentation, premiered at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Cixian used piano music, poetry, electronic sounds, video, and the shuffling of tiles and bingo markers to explore wanting to be more than “Number Three daughter of Number Two son.”
Listen to Cixian’s Stella Dance for orchestra.