Stephen Ai-1001-XL

I am a classical pianist, toy pianist, and music theorist. I am currently working on my PhD in Music Theory at Harvard University as a Presidential Scholar of the GSAS. I also hold degrees from the University of Cambridge, CUNY Queens College, and Williams College.

My research interests lie within performance studies, specifically in the intersections between analysis and practice-based research. My work seeks to strike a balance between my identities as an analyst and as a pianist, centering on a performer’s artistic values and sensibilities in making music. I am currently interested in studying the process of embodied performance practice as a form of musical analysis, and its relationship to more structural modes of analyzing music. I have also worked in postcolonial studies, Asian-American studies, queer studies, and ludomusicology.

My performance interests rest on opposite ends of the spectrum; I have a strong inclination towards historical keyboards, new music, and their intersections. As a pianist, I have appeared in concert with the Berkshire Symphony, the Los Angeles Bach Festival Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony. My past teachers include Ms. Doris Stevenson, Dr. Judy Huang, and Ms. Anna Stal.

My Chinese name, 天游 (“rambling sky”), was given to me by my grandfather. It refers to a Shaanxi style of improvisatory folk singing, 信天游, first developed by porters and farmers as a means to alleviate the stresses and monotony of manual labor. I also go by the moniker, Tangerine, bestowed to me by a well-meaning elementary school teacher who couldn’t pronounce (or couldn’t be bothered to learn to pronounce) Tian-You.

I am always open to collaboration—on or offline. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or download my CV.

Headshot by SnoStudios Photography.