Photographer: Meg Nanna
H E L L O !
My name is Emily Lau, and I am a maker of art and communities. Many people would call me a composer, singer, people-gatherer, and teacher of music and empathy. My artistic projects traverse many media, including music, theatre, movement, film, and text. While each project does usually come to a specific aesthetic outcome, my collective body of work is ideologically and methodologically conceived. The thesis of my work itself is post-aesthetic; the aesthetics of each piece only serve as a memento of the people assembled to create it.
While I frequently upend the limits of genre, a strong thread of core values runs through my work. I honor the people I work with. I create compassionate art that brings light to the delight and suffering of the human experience. Creating art and educating the next generation in its importance can be a way of collectively dreaming for a more equitable world.
Virtuosity—a confident command of my craft and my continual dedication to its development—enables everything I make. Most of my new works are collectively devised with trusted collaborators, each virtuosic in their own right. My process has crystalized into the Lau Method, which incorporates techniques and principles drawn from physical theater, expressive art therapy, Dalcroze-eurhythmics, and global performance art. I am also a professional singer of new and historical music, performing and recording with leading ensembles nationally and internationally.
BBC Radio calls my contemporary compositions "haunting" and "emotional", Cleveland Classical Review praised my singing of medieval music "striking", and Boston Musical Intelligencer called the multi-media shows I have produced and directed “magical” and “imaginative”. Originally from Hong Kong, I have set up permanent camp in the strange and fascinating cultural landscape that is the USA with periodic encouragement by major institutions, in both classical and other popular genres. As a composer, I have written for GRAMMY-winning ensembles, network television shows, NPR, and more. As a singer and director, I have appeared on leading chamber and early music series and festivals both domestically and internationally. I have presented clinics and lectures at Wellesley College, Harvard University, ASU, University of Arizona, UCLA, and numerous high schools and community arts programs.
I am founding artistic director of the eclectic chamber ensemble The Broken Consort, and the Artistic Director of Portland's exciting and inclusive music community, Big Mouth Society. Between the two groups, I serve mostly as the protective godmother to the creative and emotional health of a collective of artists. I love my work and the people I serve. I hold a M.Mus. in Early Music Performance from Longy School of Music of Bard College, a B.A. in Music and Sociology from University of Miami, and multiple fellowships, scholarships, and residencies throughout my academic and professional career. I also teaching voice and coach chamber music at Reed College, where I get to meet some really interesting and brilliant young people on a daily basis.
You can hear my singing on several major labels, including Dorian, Gothic, Reference, and Albany, amongst them the GRAMMY-winning project Far in the Heavens. You can listen to full-length albums of my original works on Isle of Lucidity (2012), Isle of Majesty (2019), and Opus 1 & 2: Radical Softness & The Glorious Cuntata. I'd recommend listening to them with a glass of wine or some hot tea.
Photographer: Meg Nanna