Jason Kao Hwang (composer, violin/viola) has created works ranging from jazz, “new” and world music. He recently released his octet CD, Burning Bridge (Innova), commissioned by Chamber Music America/New Jazz Works, featuring Chinese and Western instruments. In 2011, he released Symphony of Souls (Mulatta), performed by his string orchestra Spontaneous River, and Crossroads Unseen (Eunonymus), the third CD of his quartet EDGE.
In 2012, Downbeat Magazine critics’ poll voted Mr. Hwang as “Rising Star for Violin” and his quartet EDGE received the Chamber Music America Residency Partnership grant. In 2011, the critics’ poll of El Intruso voted him "#1 for Violin/Viola."
Burning Bridge premiered at the Chicago World Music Festival, and was performed at the Vision Festival (NYC), Edgefest (Ann Arbour, MI), the Bop Shop (Rochester, NY) and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery (Washington, D.C.). Symphony of Souls was performed at Edgefest, the Vision Festival, Living Theater (NYC) and Brecht Forum (NYC). In 2011 EDGE toured Poland, with concerts in Posnan, Katowice, and Krakow. They have also performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Discover Jazz Festival (VT), Edgefest, Vision Festival, An die Musik (Baltimore), Transparent Productions (Washington, D.C.), Brooklyn College (NY) and many other venues. Stories Before Within (Innova), the second release by his quartet EDGE, was included in the "Top Ten Recordings of 2008" by Coda Magazine. All About Jazz selected their first CD, EDGE (Asian Improv), as one of the "Top Ten CDs of 2006." In 2010, All About Jazz/New York selected Commitment, The Complete Recordings, 1981-1983 (NoBusiness), from a collective quartet that was Mr. Hwang’s first band, as one the “2010 Reissued Recordings of the Year.” In 2007, Euonymus Records released Local Lingo, Mr. Hwang’s duets with Sang Won Park (kayagum, ajeng, voice). In 2005, New World Records released Mr. Hwang’s chamber opera The Floating Box, A Story in Chinatown, which was named one of the “Top Ten Opera Recordings of 2005” by Opera News. Mr. Hwang’s long-standing ensemble, The Far East Side Band (1990-2004), which featured taiko, kayagum, tuba and his violin, released two CDs, Urban Archaeology (1996, Victo) and Caverns (1994, New World). The Far East Side Band performed at the Beijing International Jazz Festival (China), Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum (NYC), Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, Vision Festival, World Music Institute (NYC), Jazz Spektakel Wuppertal (Germany), duMaurier Ltd. International Jazz Festival (Vancouver, Canada), International Festival Musique Actuelle (Victoriaville, Canada), and many other stages. Mr. Hwang also recorded with his trio, Unfolding Stone (1990, Sound Aspects), which featured percussion, string bass and his violin. Mr. Hwang’s composition Flight of Whispers, commissioned and performed by Music for Homemade Instruments, can be heard on eXchange: China (1999, CRI), a compilation CD of Chinese American composers.
Mr. Hwang has received support from Chamber Music America, US Artists International, U.S Embassy in Poland, American Music Center, Meet the Composer/New Residencies, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, New York Community Trust, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Greenwall Foundation, and Puffin Foundation. As violinist, Mr. Hwang has worked with Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Reggie Workman, Vladamir Tarasov, Tatsu Aoki, Frances Wong, William Parker, Sirone, Dr. Makanda Ken MacIntyre, and many others.
Jason Kao Hwang has been artist–in-residence at the University of Southern Connecticut, Music From China, Museum of Chinese in America, and Asia Society. Mr. Hwang has lectured at Westminster, Brooklyn, and Queens College. Mr. Hwang taught Asian American Music, a course he originated for the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University.