courtesy of Keith Canisius Baerken


A pianist, teacher, composer, and interdisciplinary artist, 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, and Democrat Socialists of America. Recent performance highlights include interdisciplinary projects with theater, poetry, music, and improvisation with the Collaborative Arts Ensemble to reinterpret the music of Bach, Evan Ziporyn’s Black Star Project with Maya Beiser and the Ambient Orchestra, and a performance of her on-site specific work, “silence | visible” in response with Fujiko Nakaya’s FOGxFlo sculptures in the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. She is one half of the toy piano duo, chromic, and founder of interdisciplinary collective, strangers in a room, which gives voice to forgotten women in literature and history. 

Her primary influences are Yayoi Kusama, Rachmaninoff, Greta Gerwig, Cy Twombly,  Murakami, and Studio Ghibli films. She has held collaborative pianist positions at New Yorrk University, Interlochen Academy of the Arts, the University of Michigan, and the Manhattan School of Music.

Ms. 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.

Lucy Yao has degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Western Michigan University. She has studied with Inesa Sinkevych, Steve Drury, Anthony DeMare, Lori Sims, and Émile Naoumoff.

She currently maintains a private teaching studio in Manhattan and from her home in Brooklyn and as a collaborative pianist at Mannes School of Music.