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    • PHOTOS

    • Bora Yoon. Photo by Julian Mackler
    • Bora Yoon. Photo by Leslie Van Stelten
    • Church of the Ascension. Photo courtesy of the Church of the Ascension.
    • Riyaaz Qawwali. Photo courtesy of artist
    • Riyaaz Qawwali. Photo by Sunaya Rajput
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    • VIDEOS


    Bora Yoon creates architectural soundscapes from everyday found objects, chamber instruments, digital devices, and voice. As a solo performer, Yoon has presented her unique and experimental soundwork ( (( PHONATION )) ) internationally, at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Nam June Paik Museum (Seoul), Singapore Arts Festival, Festival of World Cultures (Poland), Patravadi Theatre (Bangkok), Walker Art Center, Bang on a Can Marathon, TED (Cannes Festival), and museums and galleries across the globe. Her music has been awarded by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Asian American Arts Alliance, Billboard, BMI, and the Arion Foundation; published by SubRosa, Innova, Swirl Records, and the Journal of Popular Noise; presented by TED Conferences, and electronics giant Samsung; and commissioned by the SYMPHO, Young People’s Chorus of NYC and the Sayaka Ladies Chorale of Tokyo. Yoon’s diverse talents have yielded a wide range of collaborators including longtime collaborator Luke DuBois, poet Sekou Sundiata, composer Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison, site-specific choreographer Noémie Lafrance; DJ Spooky, Ben Frost, and Kaki King. Her work is featured scoring and performing the live music for Haruki Murakami’s “Wind Up Bird Chronicle“– an interdisciplinary theatre adaptation directed by Stephen Earnhart, presented by the Barshynikov Art Center and Asia Society, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2011, and was performed for the Singapore Arts Festival in May 2012.

    Riyaaz Qawwali, formed in the winter of 2006 under the leadership of Sonny Mehta, is one of the only American-based ensembles of Qawwali, the Sufi form of devotional music from India and Pakistan that stretches back more than 700 years. Based on mystical poetry about love—of others, and of the divine—Qawwali is characterized by sparkling vocals, enthralling rhythms and passionate hand clapping, meant to progressively induce both the musicians and the audience into a state of ecstasy.


    Founded in 1827, the Church of the Ascension was the first church on Fifth Avenue. It was the setting for the marriage of President John Tyler and Julia Gardiner in 1844. Prominent New Yorkers such as August Belmont, William Astor, Frederick de Peyster, and William Rhinelander have been parishioners. Today it is home to a richly diverse parish. Its resident choral ensemble, Voices of Ascension, directed by conductor Dennis Keene, is considered one of the world’s best. In 2011, the Church installed the Manton Memorial Organ. With more than 6,000 pipes it is the largest French organ built in almost 50 years.

    Opening Concert: Entrancing: Sacred Sounds from Asian America

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Home  /  Events  /  Current Page

Opening Concert: Entrancing: Sacred Sounds from Asian America


Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 8-10pm

The Church of the Ascension
5th Avenue at 10th Street, New York, NY 10011
Cross Street: West 10th Street
Subways: A, B, C, D, E, F, M to W 4 St-Wash Sq; N, R to 8 St-NYU; 6 to Astor Pl; L to 14 St-Union Sq
Buses: M1, M2, M3, M5 to 5 Av-W 10 St; M8 to W 9 St-5 Av

$20 General Admission
$10 Artists, Students and Seniors
Free for children under 5
Special $40 VIP tickets include reserved seating and post-event reception with the artists.

Purchase tickets online by clicking here or by telephone at 1-800-838-3006 (Brown Paper Tickets).
Online ticket sales end at 2pm EST on September 12, 2012.
After this time tickets will still be available at the door.

Open seating. Arrive early to ensure best seats.


The Opening Concert of the Festival features performances by two young and outstanding groups of Asian American musicians in an event dedicated to the festival’s mission: to promote artists as agents of change, demonstrating the power of art and culture to unleash imagination, break down barriers, and connect communities together for the greater good.

New York-based experimental composer, sound artist and vocalist Bora Yoon will present the world premiere of Sunken Cathedral, a site-specific program using instruments ranging from the viola and Tibetan singing bowls to electronics and found objects, to create a tapestry of ethereal sounds that explore the space where sound connects to the subliminal. Riyaaz Qawwali, a group of eight young Asian American male musicians from Austin, Texas, making their New York debut, will in turn offer a program of traditional Qawwali, the enthralling, richly melodic, and rhythmic group-chanting style of Sufi music from South Asia. The artists will close the program with a collaborative piece.

As the artists express their spiritual devotion through music, the audience is invited to join on a mystical journey of deep listening and gradual exaltation inside the magnificent Church of the Ascension, the oldest church on Fifth Avenue. The event showcases a sliver of the vibrancy that exists in our Asian American artistic community, and in the spirit of the festival provides a platform for a most heartfelt collaboration. Join us on this special occasion as we open the festival and begin twelve days of community building across the city.

This event is presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance in association with the Church of the Ascension. This event marks the sneak preview release of Bora Yoon’s new album, Sunken Cathedral, which is made possible by the Sorel Organization for Women Composers. Special thanks to: Judy Cope, Claudette Sorel, and Dennis Keene.