Category Archives: Music

The Website Has Arrived

Emboldened and encouraged, I took the plunge and made a website: joyceyin.com

I held off on making one for several years. Actually, I bought a domain (a different one) years ago but never did anything with it. I remember paying for several years in advance instead of using the annual renewal feature and thinking to myself, “This number of years should be enough time for me to figure out whether I’m going to make it in this business.”

In that time, I’ve had who knows how many lessons and coachings, taken an entire Master’s degree worth of classes, practiced a lot, had my eyes opened, blindfolded, opened again, made discoveries, gotten very confused, experienced anxiety and frustration, felt really awesome about my singing, doubted myself, learned to lighten up a bit, let go of negativity, pushed myself, been exhausted, been totally pumped up and inspired, graduated, moved across the country, resumed working full-time and singing on the side, and even have gotten to perform some. But it wasn’t until very recently I felt ready to have a website.

I’m not sure what my definition of “ready” was or is, or what the definition might be for others, but clearly something has happened recently to help me feel otherwise. Perhaps the optimism and excitement I’ve been experiencing lately have nudged me past the tipping point. I am singing differently, and I think about singing differently. I haven’t completely figured out this complicated relationship I have with music, but I feel better about it, more positive.

So take a singer, add a dose of positivity and a sprinkle of encouragement, and you get a website.

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My new website: joyceyin.com

Also, making a website has gotten a million times easier in the past few years. What used to seem like a towering, daunting task is now fun. No coding skills required, just the ability to drag and drop, and a somewhat artistic eye is helpful to have but not altogether necessary. I think it’s also an accurate observation that having a digital presence is much more of a given than it used to be, and at an earlier stage of one’s career too. These days, a website where curious parties can click around is almost as basic as having a resume and headshot. The Internet sure has changed a lot of things, hasn’t it?

So you may have noticed a few changes around the blog recently as some information — “official” stuff such as repertoire, schedule, etc. — gets moved over to the new site. But fear not, this blog won’t be going away. I’ll continue to write here: reflecting, pondering, arriving at new ideas, sharing my journey. This is where you can still find the behind the scenes goodies, glimpses into the raw world of classical singing, the inner workings, and my inner thoughts.

But please do visit the website and let me know what you think!

 

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New Year, New Audition Outlook

Happy New Year again! The lunar new year was just last week on February 19th, and Baritone Boy and I enjoyed a wonderful if not-quite-traditional celebration at home after a long day of work for both of us. I lack the culinary skills to create a real Chinese New Year feast, but I did stop by Chinatown on the way home for groceries and successfully cobbled together a meal inspired by the foods that remind me most of home and family: noodle soup, potstickers, zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), and nian gao (sticky new year’s cake). Each course brings to mind very specific family memories, so this meal made me feel close to my family despite being separated by the width of the North American continent.

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A family-memories inspired New Year’s dinner. NYC, 2015.

It has been years since I spent Chinese New Year with my parents and brother, but I loved sharing this holiday with Baritone Boy and Dante and indulging in some delicious dishes. This New Year marked not only the start of the Year of the Sheep but also wrapped up what has been a very busy seven weeks since January 1st.

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Baroque Concert for the New Year

With some quick organizing, enthusiastic musicians, and good colleagues, the unlikely is not impossible! The early music concert that almost happened a year and a half ago has been re-imagined and resurrected, and it’s taking place this Friday, January 9, in Berkeley, CA..

I almost didn’t bring up the idea with Eugene, but I did on a whim because I remembered how excited we were about the music and the chance to perform together. Ask and you shall receive — what a way to start the year!

Chabot Chamber Society presents a Baroque Concert for the New Year:

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The two cantata’s, Bach’s Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (Wedding Cantata, BWV 202) and Montéclair’s Le Dépit Généreux, were pieces I’d originally learned in 2013, and I’m so pleased to be singing them in less than a week.

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Once: Moved and Inspired

If you believe in music, hope, and love, go see Once. If you don’t, go see it anyway and you’ll be inspired to believe. And if you’re a singer (or other kind of musician) definitely go see it to appreciate the musicianship and the keep-making-your-music-someone-will-hear-you message.

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Pre-show jam on stage. Broadway. NYC, 2014.

When Baritone Boy and I made our way to the theater, we’d both had a long day and were low on energy. We were in the midst of packing to move (and wow is moving in NYC a pain), and at one point I even wished we hadn’t gotten the tickets so we could just stay home and keep packing. That all changed once we walked into the theater. The house lights were up, the stage lights were up, and the cast was on stage playing and singing before the show even began. It was warm, relaxed, and inviting, and I was very glad we made it. Continue reading

Successful Celebration of Strauss and Friendship

As the launch project of the newly formed Cantanti Project, our Strauss Celebration was a huge success! With Bill Lewis at the piano, we presented an afternoon of Strauss’s lieder and opera in Washington Heights. In the audience were Strauss experts and novices, musicians and non-musicians, conductors, artists, singers of all kinds, people who knew a little about classical music and some who know a whole lot. The feedback we received has been overwhelmingly positive. Along with compliments on the wonderful voices, the ensemble work, and the sensitivity and musicality of the piano-playing, we also received inquiries as to whether we would be performing this program again. I can’t help but glow at the idea that people would want to hear the music again and would want others to hear it too.

Musik ist eine heilege Kunst

– Composer, Der Rosenkavalier

Basking in the aftermath of adrenaline, satisfaction, and joy, I realized the most valuable outcome of this project was not the singing I got to do but the friendships I reaffirmed with each of the singers involved. I reconnected with friends, most of whom I hadn’t seen or sung with in years and one whom I met just this summer at Astoria Music Festival, and partnered with newer friends whom I’ve never worked with before. The weeks leading up to the performance, though stressful, were filled with rehearsing, discussing, sharing ideas — it was the kind of “busy” that makes you feel alive. It’s truly beautiful that music and music-making brings people together like this.

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In the works update (November 21, 2014)

IN THE WORKS @ November 21, 2014

A Strauss Celebration: 150 years

  • Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
  • 3:00 PM
  • Lieder and selections from Arabella, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Der Rosenkavalier
  • Holyrood Church (179th and Fort Washington), Washington Heights, NYC
  • The launch project of Cantanti PROJECT, a project-based performance group in NYC, for singers and by singers.

Cornerstone Chorale’s Winter Concert

  • Sunday, December 7th, 2014
  • 3:30 PM
  • Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noël and other holiday pieces
  • Holyrood Church, Washington Heights, NYC

Zerlina in Don Giovanni with New York Lyric

  • Monday, December 15th, 2014
  • 7:00 PM
  • NOLA Studios, NYC

Covering the role of Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante in 2015 with New York Opera Forum

  •  Performance details TBA

In the works update (October 19, 2014)

IN THE WORKS @ October 19, 2014

A Strauss Celebration: 150 years

  • Monday, November 24th,  7 PM
  • Holyrood Church (179th and Fort Washington), Washington Heights, NYC
  • Lieder and selections from Arabella, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Der Rosenkavalier
  • I’ll be singing “Einkehr” (Op 47) and Sophie in the Der Rosenkavalier selections
  • The launch project of Cantanti PROJECT, a project-based performance group in NYC, for singers and by singers.

Covering the role of Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante in 2015 with New York Opera Forum

  •  Performance details TBA

 

Confessions of a Classical Singer: Les Misérables

Brace yourself – it’s confession time.

Years and years before I even cared at all about opera, I loved musical theater.

And long before I ever dreamed about about singing La Fée, Norina, Sophie (both Strauss’ and Massenet’s), Marie, or Susanna, I fantasized about singing Cosette and Eponine. I listened to the Les Misérables Complete Symphonic Recording non-stop (I had the CD set, but you can find it on YouTube as well). I knew all the words and all the numbers, and I even knew the slightly operatic recitatives (perhaps a hint of the direction I would being moving in?) and found them weirdly fascinating.

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Iconic Playbill and Les Misérables image. Broadway, 2014.

It wasn’t just Les Misérables I dreamed of being in. There was also The Phantom of the Opera (oh yes, I’m one of those opera singers who loves The Phantom of the Opera), Miss Saigon, and Into the Woods, to name a few. But it became apparent early on that I didn’t have that musical theater edge to my sound – no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to belt, and my friends got the pop solos in choir while I got the “classical” ones. I battled years of severe belt- and riff- envy, but eventually I got seriously excited about classical singing.  Continue reading