A percussionist, performing artist and interdisciplinary arts researcher, Karen Yu enjoys discovering the possibilities of combining sonic and performing arts. Through the unique blend of sight and sound inherent in percussion performance, Yu proactively seeks for new sounds through the utilization of found objects and electronics, and new approach to transform the existing concert culture. Dedicated to the performance of contemporary music, she frequently collaborates with composers and has premiered numerous new solo and chamber compositions. On the other hand, Yu is a co-founder of the chamber percussion group, The Up:Strike Project, as well as an all-female theatrical percussion trio, Dressage.
As an active performer, Yu was most recently an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and a fellow at the Blackbird Creative Lab. She has appeared in Hong Kong Sinfonietta @ Artistree “Notating Beauty That Moves”, Percussive Arts Society Day(s) of Percussion [ Hong Kong & Montréal, Canada ], Transplanted Roots Percussion Research Symposium [ Brisbane, Australia ], Biennale Montreal, IRCAM ManiFeste Academy [ Paris, France ], SoundSCAPE New Music Festival [ Maccagno, Italy ], and Sonic Anchor [ HK ]. Her chamber music performances can be heard on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Naxos Records.
Yu received her Master of Music and Bachelor of Music from McGill University under the guidance of Professor Aiyun Huang and Fabrice Marandola. Despite her focus in classical contemporary percussion performance, Yu has six years of experience in playing traditional instruments such as Tabla. Her studies at McGill University were fully supported by the Schulich Graduate Scholarship and her interdisciplinary research-creation project, “The Breathing Canvas”, was funded by the Centre of Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology. Aside from being a musician, Yu is the Executive Officer of McGill University Asia Office, and a sour beer enthusiast.
Yu joined the NOVA Ensemble in 2019, and has since taken up the post as the ensemble’s project coordinator.
Karen Yu debuts at PRISM Chamber Music Festival in 2019 with EXORDIUM Collective, performing works by Nathaniel Haering, Yu Kuwabara, Emily Koh, Angus Lee, Nemanja Radivojević and Elnaz Seyedi.