courtesy of Keith Canisius Baerken


A pianist, collaborator of different mediums, musicologist, pedagogue, composer, and performer, Lucy allows music to go anywhere possible that is unexplored. She draws from a rich repertoire ranging from 17th century solo piano works to interdisciplinary projects and music with electronics. Her performances have led her from the Chopin Festival in Naleczow, Poland, a renovated cathedral-music venue in Copenhagen, to the Contemporary Opera Ensemble at the Manhattan School of Music, and beyond the scale of a concert pianist.  As a passionate activist, she has organized benefit concerts for the ACLU and American Lung Cancer Foundation at her alma mater, Western Michigan University, as well as in Denmark. She is the founder of a contemporary collective based in NYC, which gives voice to forgotten women in literature and history. 

Her primary influences are Yayoi Kusama, Rachmaninoff, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Greta Gerwig, Cy Twombly,  Murakami, and Studio Ghibli films. She has held collaborative pianist positions at the Interlochen Academy of the Arts, the University of Michigan, and the Manhattan School of Music. Lucy has degrees from Western Michigan University and will graduate from the Manhattan School of Music in May 2018.

Yao began studying at the age of 4, and has performed as a solo pianist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and collaborative pianist throughout the world. She believes that musicianship and political identity are intertwined and is not afraid of having strong political views. She strives to be a conscientious musician who is open to unconventional possibilities of viewing music as an architectural landscape. In the past year, she has been exploring the different possibilities of expression by organizing concerts and shifting the focus off from "the performer" and onto a wider purpose. In the wake of extreme-right politics, she has forged efforts against Anti-Immigration practices in a concert with proceeds benefitting the ACLU, as well as a benefit concert for the Research for Lung Cancer Foundation. Above all, she believes that music must teach and inform the public how to empathize and show kindness to others. It has to reflect the kind of humanity that is wanted and dreamt of.

Lucy Yao has degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Western Michigan University. Her current teacher is Inesa Sinkevych.