Featuring Synaesthete Concert Pianist Jenny Q Chai

Piano and ensemble with Intermedia Concert on January 1, 2022 - Shanghai, China

*  Journey Through The Senses is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this cutting edge event which supports a greater awareness of neurodiversity.

Dr. Jenny Q Chai

Contemporary Pianist

President of FaceArt Institute of Music

Piano Faculty at UC Berkeley 

Alumni Mentor at Curtis Institute of Music

Career Mentor at Manhattan School of Music

An artist of singular vision, pianist Jenny Q Chai is widely renowned for her ability to illuminate musical connections throughout the centuries. With radical joie de vivre and razor-sharp intention, Chai creates layered multimedia programs which explore and unite elements of science, nature, fashion, and art. 

Her immersive approach to music is also channeled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organization she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond. Jenny Q Chai is a piano faculty member of the University of California Berkeley,an official career mentor at Manhattan School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music.

Jenny Q Chai will be giving a world premiere work on 1/1.


▼Andy Akiho  —— the ensemble works will be giving in the concert

“Synesthesia Playground”

Color & Music




Prepared Piano+Percussion+

Electronic Guqin+Keyboard+Visual arts



Saturday, January 1

10:30 am



Shanghai Centre Theatre



Scan the QR code for tickets


Pianist: Jenny Q Chai

Visiting Artists: Chenchu Rong, Jacob Charles (Composer of the world premiere work), Xiang Tan (Sean), Christoph Kirst, Ziyi Wang

Jaroslaw Kapuscinski


(with AI)

Andy Akiho / Steven Sondheim

Into the Woods

(prepared piano with intermedia)

Annie Gosfield

Brooklyn, Oct 5, 1941

(with baseball)



– Intermission –

Jacob Charles


(world premier)

Steve Reich

Clapping Music

Andy Akiho

Synesthesia Suite






JUICY (for piano and audiovisual projection) by Jaroslaw Kapuscinski. Fruits and music have a lot in common. Both can be vividly colorful and structurally geometric but even in most formal settings they are never purely abstract. The rhythm of video editing and overall flow of imagery is controlled by the pianist using AI enabled program that listens and anticipates her pacing. 

Annie Gosfield Brooklyn, Oct 5, 1941. A piano piece played with a baseball.  A reenactment of the historic baseball game in Brooklyn on October 5, 1941.

Steven Sondheim Into the Woods arrangement by Andy Akiho:  “the first time I listened to it I loved the concept of Into the Woods—being lost in and confused by the woods, and the consistent and driving rhythms of the opening prologue. I was also intrigued by Sondheim’s innovative and witty use of spoken narrative against his catchy melodies, particularly during each character’s introduction. “-Andy Akiho.

playing was admirable for its refinement and directness.—— Anthony Tommasini( the chief music critic for <The New York Times>


Jenny Q Chai, a pianist whose dazzling facility is matched by her deep musicality. ——<The New Yorker>


It was Chai’s sensitivity to color, timbre and emotion that resonated the most. ——<Lucia Culture>


It was a loving and intense interpretation (no doubt full of colors as well) and it left the audience satisfied as a dessert would cap the climax of a fine meal. ——<New Music Buff>


Her music is so rich and colorful that it seems like there are a million pixies in it that, sometimes come out on their own. ——Anthony de Mare


Jenny is doing such a great thing. Her performance is so captivating. She can reflect our soul with her voice.  ——Tan Dun


Thank you for expanding the students’ view of contemporary music, and inspiring me a lot. ——Jaroslaw Kapuscinski (the chair of the department of music at Stanford University)

Based in both Shanghai and San Francisco, Chai’s instinctive understanding of new music is complemented by a deep grounding in core repertoire, with special affinity for Schumann, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel. She is a noted interpreter of 20th-century masters Cage, Messiaen, and Ligeti, and her career is threaded through with strong relationships and close collaborations with a range of notable contemporary composers, including Jarosław Kapuściński, Cindy Cox, Andy Akiho, and György Kurtág. With a deft poetic touch, Chai weaves this wide-ranging repertoire into a gorgeous and lucid musical tapestry. Chai is also a vital champion and early tester of the groundbreaking synchronous score following software program, Antescofo. 

Other notable highlights include her 2012 Carnegie Hall recital debut; many performances at (le) Poisson Rouge; her 2018 Wigmore Hall debut with a program exploring the relation between color and sound; lectures and recitals at Shanghai Symphony Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall, and Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena; a featured performance at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Havana, Cuba; Philippe Manoury’s double-piano concerto, Zones de turbulences, at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music with duo partner, pianist Adam Kośmieja and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; and much more. Her immersive approach to music is also channeled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organization she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond.

Chai has recorded for labels such as Deutschlandfunk, Naxos, ArpaViva and MSR. In 2010, she released her debut recording, New York Love Songs, featuring interpretations of works by Cage and Ives among others,  and her most recent recording, (S)yn(e)sth(e)te, was released by MSR Records in 2017. She can also be heard on Michael Vincent Waller’s Five Easy Pieces and Cindy Cox’s Hierosgamos.


The recipient of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust’s 2011 Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project, the DAAD Arts and Performance award in 2010, Chamber Music America commissioning award and first prize winner of the Keys to the Future Contemporary Solo Piano Festival, Jenny Q Chai studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and in Cologne University of Music and Dance. Her teachers include Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Seymour Lipkin, Solomon Mikowsky, Marilyn Nonken, and Anthony de Mare.

Composer of the world premiere work

Jacob Charles


Jacob Charles was born 1987 in New Mexico, USA. He graduated from Texas A&M University, studying composition and computer music under Dr. Jeff Morris. He finished his studies in Japan under the guidance of Dr. Martin Regan where he studied traditional Japanese performing arts and composition. After graduating, Jacob moved to China, studying guqin performance. He was awarded a 4 year scholarship to pursue advanced studies in guqin and composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He studied qin under guqin master Zhao Xiaoxia, and composition with Professor Ye Xiaogang. Jacob has held solo recitals for guqin in both Beijing and Shanghai, and has been invited across China to share his guqin music. Beyond traditional works, he also performs his own compositions for the instrument. 

Jacob previously held a lecturer position at the Central Conservatory of Music, teaching a doctoral course on the relationship of American music and literature. He is currently an instructor of theory/composition at FaceArt Institute of Music in Shanghai.

Visiting Artists

Chenchu Rong

Chenchu Rong percussionist, jazz vibraphonist, composer, arranger. The percussion faculty (Associated professor)of Shanghai Normal University. By the US media as “The Music leader of today music”; World Art Music Maestro Mr. Tan Dun called it “rare music pioneer” Started racing around the world in 2009 and won lots awards, and began as a percussion soloist to start around the world. Including the UnitedNations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, PhiladelphiaPhilharmonic Orchestra, Abu Dhabi Art World Summit, Los Angeles Ghat Museum, France Lyon Symphony Orchestra, Dutch Royal Symphony Orchestra, GermanyStuttgart Symphony Orchestra, Italy Tuscany Symphony Orchestra, HollandRotterdam Symphony Orchestra. In addition to contracting with the world’s top groups, in the cross-border, popular, rock elements of the collision is endless. Participated in a variety of large-scale variety show recordings, including “China’s good song”, “I am a singer”, “China good voice” US station, “Hang Gai- symphony rock” and other performances.

Xiang  Tan

Sean began studying piano, violin, and composition at age five, as well as conducting at age nine. He is currently an eleventh grade student at the High School Affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory, majoring in conducting. Aside from engaging in school-wide performances and events, Sean has been actively participating as a conductor and pianist at several international music festivals, such as Calgary Philharmonic’s Morningside Music Bridge, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and The Walden School’s Young Musicians Program etc. He has performed in several renowned venues such as New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. He also took on the role of a vocal and chamber coach at Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s MISA festival.

Christoph Kirst

Dr. Christoph Kirst is Assistant Professor for theoretical neuroscience at the University of California San Francisco and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory studying the mechanisms underlying flexible brain computation and function. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Berlin and Göttingen and obtained a PhD in theoretical physics from the Max Plank Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization.

Dr. Kirst started to play piano at the age of 10 and studied classical percussion with Andrea Schneider in Germany starting at the age of 12. He performed with many different classical orchestras including the ‘Junges Philharmonisches Orchester’ of Germany and youth orchestras of Lower Saxony and Bremen as well as professional orchestras, including the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover. He was part of many contemporary and percussion ensembles, including the percussion ensemble of the music academy of Hanover, the contemporary “Ensemble Daniel Ott,” performing works composed specifically for spaces and buildings, and the Max Planck Non-Linear Jazz Group. Concert tours took him around Germany, Japan, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Estonia. 


Ziyi Wang

She studied under the famous young percussion player Chenchu Rong and have a good percussion foundation, good at western percussion, combination percussion, national percussion of various styles of different types of percussion.


In 2019, she started experimenting with multiple percussion styles, including dramatic percussion, improvisation percussion and theater percussion. Under the guidance of Teacher Chenchu Rong, she tried different percussion styles and variations, and more perfect combinations of timbre and technique, music and space, sound and art. She won the first prize of Youth Ensemble of Philharmonic orchestra in percussion competition held by IPEA, the authoritative percussion competition in China.


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