Chromic Duo – Lucy Yao and Dorothy Chan – are teaming up with the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program for a project entitled “Emerald Futures” where they will combine the performance of the original compositions from the young composers (ages 12-16) with an augmented reality sound walk through New York City. The augmented reality experience will be available to anyone who would like to participate via the app Gesso (available on iOS and Android) starting on July 2nd.
An innovative way to experience music and storytelling, the walk will give listeners a multi-sensory experience as they experience the freedom of exploring the city while immersed in the sounds of original compositions. The scripted audio sound walk will lead listeners on a path through the city from New York’s Central Park to the Lincoln Center using a GPS trigger to create site-specific concert experiences, accessible to the participant at any time.
The experience culminates with Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s “We Belong Here” mural as a moment of reflection and response to ending AAPI hate. Phingbodhipakkiya created the “We Belong Here” campaign to confront the surge in bias and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – a cause that Yao and Chan are also supporting in their forthcoming work with Mott Street Girls to support local Chinatown businesses that have been impacted by the rise of AAPI crime. “In the wake of exclusion, noticing how much oppression there is in our world right now, we want to create a hybrid experience to experience concerts in public spaces that is the epitome of accessibility and inclusion,” says the duo. “We are motivated to create spaces where stories can be told to foster a deeper understanding of humanizing perspectives.”
Through their own self-discovery as first and second-generation Asian Americans, Chromic Duo understands how expansive the diaspora is and how it fails to describe who they truly are. “By having so much that is undefined, part of the beauty behind this project is to create moments where there is a grey area- where sound is met with a strike of lightning in color, where the history of NYC is reflected on through a contemporary narrative of music by the next generation of young composers and thinkers,” says Yao.
Overall, Chromic Duo hopes that this reflective music and narration will allow participants to immerse themselves in an experience that brings to light the stories and perspectives of people and communities around them so that they can be inspired to respond based on empathy instead of biased judgment. “We also hope to inspire the young composers of this program to lean into their curiosities, and always be questioning and challenging the norms of how things came to be,” says Lucy Yao. “We often ask ourselves, ‘how can we use music as a positive force and tool to bring people together?’ Music has the power to take your perceived biases and understanding of the world and challenge them.” By bringing a new perspective on how participants perceive their environment and connect themselves within their communities, they are excited to see how it can interact with music to create innovative ways of “going through the motions” in an amplified manner that allows for new connections to happen.
The New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program is an afterschool program targeting middle school children who are often graduates of VYC Schools grade school programming, the Very Young Composer’s Bridge exposes students to the instruments of the orchestra, nurtures their inherent creativity, and culminates with original works performed by professional musicians including members of the Philharmonic. Students with or without musical training create, notate, and hear their very own music performed by Philharmonic musicians — often the full Orchestra — with the help of Philharmonic Teaching Artists serving as mentors. The VYC idea is rapidly catching on as it has reached children on four continents in countries including Korea, China, Venezuela, and Finland.