Kravis Nightcap Series 2023 Review: Chromic Duo

A Reflective Night Featuring Lucy Yao, Dorothy Chan, Madeline Hocking & Vocalist Liz Kiger

By Jennifer Pyron
Photo Credit:  Adrianna Tan

Chromic Duo curated “Kravis Nightcap,” a cabaret-style series, on May 27th 2023 at David Geffen Hall’s Kenneth C. Griffin Sidewalk Studio. Chromic Duo blends classical music, electronics, toy piano and voice samples to create musical atmospheres that inspire and investigate deeper meanings behind multimedia and genre-fluid performances.

For this special night, members Lucy Yao and Dorothy Chan collaborated with violinist Madeline Hocking, vocalist Liz Kiger and reality artist Brian Ellis in an intimate space to share luscious arrangements of thoughtful compositions by Maurice Ravel, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nyokabi Kariuki, and Chromic Duo’s new release “Rooms of Oceans.”

Ryuichi Sakamoto & Asian American Storytellers

Madeline Hocking began the evening’s performances as she played her violin while making her way to the front of the studio. The audience was immediately immersed in her rich textures. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “20220302 – sarabande” was the first song, along with a special arrangement of a Studio Ghibli piece, “My Neighbor Totoro,” by Chromic Duo that utilized violin, piano and toy piano. The music was light and playful. Lucy Yao spoke after the performance and shared about how important it was to honor Sakamoto and the previous generations of Asian American artists and storytellers. 

Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane” was performed next for the series. In this arrangement, Lucy Yao mentioned the influence of Ravel on her piano playing and how she is constantly inspired by previous composers and piano players. The theme of honoring one’s past was central and this piece felt reflective, especially being performed so late at night past 11:00pm est. There was an extra dreamy quality in the air. “Pavane” utilized Lucy Yao playing the piano and Dorothy playing voice samples that featured Liz Kiger’s voice: 

“We want you to understand that there’s belonging for you. That one day, our stories will be told. That our histories will be taught in school. That we will be unafraid to share our story. Today I will learn to dance with my own shadow.”

“Pavane” was incredibly beautiful in how it slowly revealed all components together as a body of sound. I felt like there were moments when I could not tell who was playing or saying what because it all seamlessly blended into one. This was my first Chromic Duo performance to experience and I reveled in the music’s immersiveness and inclusivity.

Becoming a Body of Sound 

Room of Oceans” was released on May 26th 2023 and features a three year process of works composed by Chromic Duo, BAKUDI SCREAM (Rohan Chander), Nyokabi Kariũki, and a piece titled “Somewhere in the Distance,” featuring violinist Madeline Hocking and vocalist Liz Kiger

“laika, bluu” was played first in this lineup and it was a gentle and nostalgic mix of Lucy Yao playing piano and Dorothy Chan playing toy piano and found sounds of flamingos at the lake. “From Roots We Carry” was the closing piece and it involved a reflective moment for the audience to participate in where we thought about what we wanted to carry forward from our past generations and what we wanted to leave behind. “From Roots We Carry” also featured vocal samples that spoke about family ties and influences that inspired this piece.

This was a thoughtful close to a beautiful night by Chromic Duo. 


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