Jason Kao Hwang

Last updated
Jason Kao Hwang
Jason Kao Hwang.JPG
Hwang performing at the Saalfelden International Jazz Festival in 2009
Born1957 (1957)
Website jasonkaohwang.com

Jason Kao Hwang (born 1957) is a Chinese American violinist and composer. He is known for his unconventional and improvisational jazz violin technique as well as his chamber opera The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown which premiered in 2001 and was released in 2005 on New World Records. [1] [2]


Life and career

Hwang's parents had emigrated to the United States from Hunan after World War II. He was born in Lake Forest, Illinois and grew up in Waukegan. He studied classical violin before attending New York University where he received a degree in film and television. During his time at NYU, he became interested in jazz, and soon devoted himself to a career as a musician. He was active in New York City's free jazz scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but over the next decade he increasingly focused on Asian American jazz. His later work, including his opera The Floating Box and his extended composition Burning Bridge for a mixed ensemble of jazz, classical and Chinese instruments, has explored his own identity as an Asian American. [3] [1] [4] [5]


With Jason Kao Hwang and the Spontaneous River Orchestra
With Anthony Braxton

With Jerome Cooper

With Dominic Duval

With William Parker

With Henry Threadgill

With Reggie Workman

See also

Related Research Articles

John Adams (composer) American composer (born 1947)

John Coolidge Adams is an American composer and conductor whose music is rooted in minimalism. Among the most regularly performed composers of contemporary classical music, he is particularly noted for his operas, which are often centered around recent historical events. Apart from opera, his oeuvre includes orchestral, concertante, vocal, choral, chamber, electroacoustic and piano music.

Itzhak Perlman Israeli-American violinist

Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and music teacher. Perlman has performed worldwide, and throughout the United States, in venues that have included a State Dinner at the White House honoring Queen Elizabeth II, and at President Barack Obama's inauguration. He has conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Westchester Philharmonic. In 2015, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has received 16 Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and four Emmy Awards.

David Henry Hwang American playwright

David Henry Hwang is an American playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and theater professor at Columbia University in New York City. He has won three Obie Awards for his plays FOB, Golden Child, and Yellow Face. Three of his works—M. Butterfly, Yellow Face, and Soft Power—have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Anthony Braxton American musician, composer, singer, and philosopher

Anthony Braxton is an American experimental composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist who is best known for playing saxophones, particularly the alto. Braxton grew up on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, and was a key early member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He received great acclaim for his 1969 double-LP record For Alto, the first full-length album of solo saxophone music.

L. Subramaniam Indian musician

Lakshminarayana Subramaniam is an Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music.

Jean-Luc Ponty French musician

Jean-Luc Ponty is a French jazz violinist and composer.

Leroy Jenkins (musician) Musical artist (1932–2007)

Leroy Jenkins was an American composer and violinist/violist.

J. D. Parran is an American multi-woodwind player, educator, and composer specializing in jazz and free improvisation. He plays the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophone, as well as the E-flat clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, piccolo, alto flute, bamboo flute, Native American flute, bamboo saxophone, and nagaswaram.

The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown is a chamber opera by Jason Kao Hwang, to a libretto by Catherine Filloux. It premiered in 2001, directed by Jean Randich and conducted by Juan Carlos Rivas. The original cast was Sandia Ang (Soprano), Ryu-Kyung Kim (Mezzo-contralto), and Zheng Zhou (Baritone).

Zheng Zhou is a Chinese-born baritone whose singing career included performances in major opera houses and concert halls in North America and Europe. He also appears on the premiere recordings of Philip Glass's the CIVIL warS and La Belle et la Bête on Nonesuch Records and Jason K. Hwang's chamber opera The Floating Box on New World Records. After retiring from the stage, he became Professor of Singing at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

David Ragsdale American musician

David Lasater Ragsdale has been the violinist for the rock band Kansas from 1991 to 1997 and from 2006 to the present. He toured for four years with Louise Mandrell before joining Kansas, and he released a solo album in 1997. Ragsdale has appeared as a guest artist with various other bands.

Ken Filiano Musical artist

Ken Filiano is an American jazz and orchestral bassist based in Brooklyn, New York.

Turtle Island Quartet

The Turtle Island Quartet is a string quartet that plays hybrids of jazz, classical, and rock music. The group was formed in 1985 by David Balakrishnan, Darol Anger, and Mark Summer in San Francisco. They released their first album on Windham Hill Records in 1988 with Irene Sazer.

David Sulzer American neuroscientist and musician

David Sulzer is an American neuroscientist and musician. He is a professor at Columbia University Medical Center in the departments of psychiatry, neurology, and pharmacology. Sulzer's laboratory investigates the interaction between the synapses of the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia, including the dopamine system, in habit formation, planning, decision making, and diseases of the system. His lab has developed the first means to optically measure neurotransmission, and has introduced new hypotheses of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease, and changes in synapses that produce autism and habit learning.

Roland Dahinden is a Swiss trombonist and composer.

<i>Octet (New York) 1995</i> 1997 live album by Anthony Braxton

Octet 1995 is a live album by composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton with an octet, recorded at the Knitting Factory in 1995 and released on his own Braxton House label.

<i>Sextet (Istanbul) 1996</i> 1996 live album by Anthony Braxton

Sextet (Istanbul) 1996 is a live album by composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton with an sextet, recorded at the AkBank Jazz Festival in Turkey in 1995 and released on his own Braxton House label.

Taylor Ho Bynum American musician

Taylor Ho Bynum is a musician, composer, educator and writer. His main instrument is the cornet, but he also plays numerous similar instruments, including flugelhorn and trumpet.

Joseph Daley (jazz musician) Musical artist

Joseph Peter Daley is an American educator, jazz musician, composer and arranger known for his work with the tuba, trombone and euphonium.


  1. 1 2 Kajikawam Loren (2013). "Hwang, Jason Kao". The Grove Dictionary of American Music. Retrieved 14 June 2018 (subscription required for full access).
  2. Rochester, Marc (2005). "Opera: The Floating Box". International Record Review , Vol. 6, No. 1, p. 86.
  3. Michalowski, Piotr (October 2008). "Jason Kao Hwang: Pan-Asian-American music". Ann Arbor Observer . Retrieved 14 June 2018
  4. Heflin, James (28 January 2015). "Building a House of Song: Violinist Jason Kao Hwang brings his improv-based Sing House to town". The Valley Advocate . Retrieved 14 June 2018
  5. Whitehead, Kevin (26 November 2012). "Jason Kao Hwang: From The Blues To China And Back" NPR. Retrieved 14 June 2018