Listen to podcast profiles of twelve foreign-born artists now residing in the United States, as they provide personal insight into their music-making process. Part of The New Americans series on WNYC.
WNYC's The New Americans series is supported in part by the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Composer and oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen has been the decisive force in bringing both traditional Arab music and its contemporary jazz fusions to American audiences for more than 20 years.
Chinese-American composer and conductor Huang Ruo has emerged as one of the most exciting young figures on the contemporary music scene. His eclectic style mixes elements of hip-hop, jazz, and the traditions of both Western and Eastern classical music.
William Chapman Nyaho
Born in Washington D.C. but raised from an early age in Ghana, West Africa, pianist and scholar William Chapman Nyaho has been an avid proponent for composers of African descent via his piano recitals around the world, and through his editing of an ambitious multi-volume set of piano music from Africa.
Alondra de la Parra
At age twenty-two, Alondra de la Parra became the first Mexican woman to conduct in New York City. She’s gone on to found and direct her own New York-based orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, which promotes both the modern and classical repertoire of Latin and South America.
Moving easily between avant-guard electronica and traditional African music, Vienna-born (but New York-based) composer and percussionist Lukas Ligeti wears many musical hats.
Tibetan vocalist and composer Yungchen Lhamo is the director of the New York-based Yungchen Lhamo Charitable Foundation, which seeks to improve the welfare and image of her native Tibetans through outreach, sacred song and meditation workshops.
Since emigrating to the US in the early 90s, Chinese-born pipa player and vocalist Min Xiao-Fen has worked with contemporary artists ranging from Björk to John Zorn. Based out of Queens, NY, Min is also the founder of Blue Pipa, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes experimental multi-cultural music, including jazz, film and theater works from around the world.
Through her interdisciplinary performance collective VisionIntoArt, Italian-born, New York-based composer Paola Prestini creates what TimeOut New York calls "ingeniously staged concert pieces that gracefully walk the line between opera and performance art."
Although a native of France, Olivier Conan spends his professional life fronting the popular music of Latin America as a member of the bands Chica Libre and Las Rubias del Norte. He also spreads the word through the many eclectic concerts held at his club in Brooklyn, Barbès.
Since moving to the United States from his native Japan, Hiroya Miura has found success as a composer, conductor and performer. A 2005 Graduate of Columbia University, Miura is also a founding member of the electronic improvisation unit, NoOneReceiving.
Argentinian-born, New York-based composer Ezequiel Viñao writes densely-layered, evocative music that speaks to the distant past through a modern soundscape.
Since arriving in the U.S. in 1980 from his native country Brazil, Cyro Baptista has emerged as one of the premier percussionists in the United States, working with a wide variety of artists from the world of Jazz, Classical, and Pop. He also fronts the theatrical jazz/samba performance troupe, Beat the Donkey.