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Wen LIU

 

Born in China, July 4th 1988.

Resident of Vienna (Austria) since 2005.

 

Summary

 

Wen Liu is the founder and artistic director of the international and multidisciplinary festival for contemporary music and art: M.A.R.S. (Music & Arts ReSound) in Los Angeles. Over one hundred musicians and artists have been guests, including the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, the Ensemble Pamplemousse, the artist collective Dosshaus, ThisPlay Creative Studio, and notable figures such as Tiffany Trenda, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Jay Mark Johnson, Natacha Diels, Alexander Schubert, Katharina Rosenberger, Ashley Fure. 

 

In 2021 Wen initiated the Music+Art+Science+Technology collective Studio M.A.R.S. (Music Art Research Science), with the goal of exploring innovative multimedia storytelling, immersive music theater design, and hybrid forms of music theater performance featuring deep integration of science and technology. 

Studio M.A.R.S.’s first music theater project: a live participatory XR opera Speculum Maius, which merges live multiplayer AR & VR App for audience engagement within live opera. Speculum Maius is premiered at the Kunstmuseum Bonn 9th-11th December 2022, in collaboration with Theater Bonn. 

Currently, Studio M.A.R.S. is focusing on incorporating advanced XR and AI technologies into opera storytelling and composition, while also investigating ways to enhance audience engagement in opera forms.

 

Wen Liu is a multidisciplinary composer and media artist who combines music, visuals, dance, projections, and interdisciplinary art forms in her work. She is known for her experimental research-based practices, which delve into the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, occultism and Eastern mysticism, consciousness, artificial intelligence, and the future of humanity. She is interested in exploring parallel timelines and mixed realities through her projects.

 

 

„A full weekend of boundary-blurring, futuristic applied technology, […] neither an art show nor a concert but something greater than the sum of its parts.“ 

– LA Weekly

 

„In the future, concert festivals might look something like M.A.R.S.“ 

– Los Angeles Daily News

 

„ Speculum Maius ist eine ganz neue Erfahrung. […] Diese innovative Verknüpfung von Theater, Oper und virtueller Realität geht in ihrer Individualität deutlich über Videoprojektionen hinaus“  

– Das Opernmagazine 

 

„Wen Liu hat ein Gespür für die Mikrostruktur der Klänge und die Fähigkeit, das in größere formale Zusammenhänge zu binden. Sie verbindet instrumentale und vokale Gesten zu einer individuellen Musiksprache und hat ein starkes Klangbewusstsein.“

–  Ö1 Talentebörse-Kompositionspreis

 

Education

 

  • 2015-2019: University of California, San Diego (Ph.D. in Music Composition)

  • 2009-2014: University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Composition studies under Prof. Clemens Gadenstätter)

  • 2010-2014: Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MA Composition under Wolfgang Liebhart, graduated with highest honors)

  • 2011-2013: University of Applied Arts Vienna (Stage/Film Design & Transmedia Art)

  • 2012:  SAE Institute Vienna (Film/Video Making & Visual Design)

  • 2008-2010: Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (piano studies under Gerhard Geretschläger, BA Composition under Christian Minkowitsch, graduated with highest honors)

  • 2005-2007: Vienna Conservatory (piano studies with Laszlo Gereb and Alexandra Hermentin)

Teaching Experience

 

  • Teaching Assistant at University of California, San Diego (2015-2018) in Music Theory, Contemporary Music, and Music of 21st Century.

  • Lectures and Master Classes at Universitas Pelita Harapan Jakarta(Indonesia) in Contemporary Music and Composition 2014.

  • Mentor of the 2022-2023 European Women Music Program SEWEM.

Research and Thesis

 

  • Title: A Case Study of Interactive Multimedia Performance: Monster, and An Introduction of Interactive Music Composition (Master's thesis at Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, Austria, published by Akademia Verlag Germany, 2014)

  • Title: Holographic Reality: What You See is Not What You Get. Technology in Music and Art in the Twenty-First Century. Immersive Art and Theater in the Twenty-First Century (three research topics for the Doctor of Philosophy Qualification Exam at University of California, San Diego, 2018)

  • Current artistic research and practice: Using of AR/VR/MR in contemporary music theater storytelling and composition.

 

Awards (selection)

 

  • Startsstipendium for music composition 2022 from Austrian Federal Ministry.

  • Arbeitsstipendium for music composition 2022 from the City of Vienna.

  • State Scholarship for music composition 2021 from Austrian Federal Ministry.

  • European Music Accelerator 2021 Fellowship. 

  • Förderungspreis for music 2015 from the City of Vienna.

  • Ö1 Talentebörse-Kompositionspreis 2012 Austria. 

  • First prize at the “5th international composition competition Francisco Escudero” 2012.

  • 2012 Fidelio International Competition - Individual Creation Category.

  • Theodor Körner Fonds 2010 Austria, under the patronage of the Austrian President Dr.Heinz Fischer.

 

Projects (selection)

 

2023

  • Studio M.A.R.S. together with Eufonia Festival and Faculty of Psychology of the University of Lisbon, co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union, for the new project Sub_Bar 2023-2024. 

 

2022

  • Mentor of the 2022-2023 European Women Music Program SEWEM.

  • The live participatory XR opera composition Speculum Maius (the project is initiated by Studio M.A.R.S.), in collaboration with Theater Bonn and Kunstmuseum. Premiere at the Kunstmuseum Bonn in December 2022.

  • Studio M.A.R.S. collaborating with IntAct Festival on the immersive music theater project Necromancy for Beginners. Premiere at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in December 2022.

  • Women Opera Makers Residence at the Festival D’Aix-en-Provence in July 2022.

2021

  • Establishment of Studio M.A.R.S. (Music Art Research Science).

  • Fellowship of European Music Accelerator program JUMP 2021.

  • Fellowship of Creative Europe Sounds Now program Curating Diversity Course 2021.

  • Artist-in-Residence at Dias de Musica Electroacustica Portugal 2021.

 

2020

  • Composition commission from the Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium. Premiere and lectures at the Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium Bangkok 2020 (postponed).

  • Concert and lectures at the Athens Digital Arts Festival 2020 (online).

 

2019

  • Artistic Director of Festival M.A.R.S. in Shanghai and M.A.R.S. Forum in Paris in October.

 

2018

  • Artistic Director of Festival M.A.R.S. The Festival took place in Los Angeles, 6th-13h October.

 

2017

  • Composition commission from the Biennale Taschenopernfestival Salzburg for the short opera: Zeig mir dein Fleisch. Premiere with the Österreichischen Ensemble für Neue Musik in September 2017.

  • Artistic Director of Festival M.A.R.S. The festival took place in Los Angeles, 14th-23rd April. 

  • Establishment of Festival M.A.R.S.(Music & Arts ReSound).

 

2016

  • Composition commission from and for the EXPAN Festival, Premiere in November 2016.

 

2015

  • Composition commission from the Asian Art Ensemble (Berlin). Premiere at the Konzerthaus Berlin, April 2015

  • Dian Red Kechil International Young Composers Residency in Singapore, June 2015

  • Composition commission from the Biennale Taschenopernfestival Salzburg for the short opera: The End of The Song. Premiere with the Österreichischen Ensemble für Neue Musik in September 2015.

  • Composition commission from the Festival Steirischer Herbst 2015 - Musikprotokoll for Ensemble Recherche. 

 

Performances (selection)

 

Festivals: 

La Biennale di Venezia

Ars Electronica Festival

Wien Modern 

Expo Shanghai

International Computer Music Conference (ICMC)

Athens Digital Arts Festival

ManiFeste IRCAM Paris 

Steirischer Herbst – Musikprotokoll

ZeitRäume Basel: Biennale für Musik und Architektur

Music-Festival Grafenegg

Biennale Taschenopernfestival Salzburg

Festival Mixtur Barcelona 

Crossings for contemporary music and dance, Johannesburg

Stockholm Fringe Fest (Stoff)

 

Ensembles: 

Ensemble Intercontemporain

Intenational Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

Ensemble Musikfabrik

Ensemble Recherche

Surplus Ensemble

Ensemble Garage

Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik

Phace Ensemble

Ensemble Reconsil

Asian Contemporary Ensemble

Asian Art Ensemble

Ensemble Platypus

Signum Saxophone Quartet

China Radio Symphony Orchestra

Sydney Contemporary Orchestra 

KRKA Wind Orchestra

Vienna Saxophonic Orchestra

Artistic Statement

For the past 10 years I have been active in academic education, as well as involved in the contemporary music scene. As I have grown as a musician and composer, I have become increasingly interested in exploring other creative outlets: multimedia works, stage design, directing film projects, and collaborating with visual artists. I have been seeking to develop unique works that feature a vivid and contemporary translation of multidisciplinary art forms by utilizing advanced technology. 

I believe that music, art, and science should come together to accomplish what one field alone cannot: to convey ideas and inspire changes in mindset, attitudes and behaviors that will lead to a better, more open human understanding on different levels and areas. 

My interests and experimental research-based practices currently deal with quantum physics, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, consciousness and future humanity. I am currently working on exploring expanded new operatic form, which incorporates technology to create a larger form of immersive non-linear music theater. Particularly experimenting with parallel timelines and mixed realities.

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