Yaz Lancaster is a performer-composer & poet based in Brooklyn, NY. They are primarily interested in the performance of new/contemporary works, collaboration, community building & the representation of minorities in art.
Always looking to expand their musical capabilities, Yaz performs in a wide variety of settings. As a violinist, they have performed in orchestras, chamber ensembles, NYU Baroque Ensemble, contemporary ensembles, musical and opera pits, studio sessions for various genres of artists, & they frequently perform new compositions. In the summer of 2016, Yaz was a fellow at the Miami Music Festival, where they participated in the Orchestral, Opera & Conductors’ Institutes. In 2018, Yaz participated in the New Music on the Point festival as a violinist where they performed works/were coached by Ted Hearne & George Lewis, as well as works by emerging composer participants, & they had the opportunity to perform with members of JACK Quartet, percussionist Jan Williams & ICE soprano Tony Arnold. Yaz also performs on tenor steel pan with the NYU steel band under Josh Quillen, & is a member of the indie R&B band SARIAN where they provide violin, synthesizer & back-up vocals. Notable performance & recording venues include: Honolulu Theatre (HI), Palffy Palac (Prague, CZ), Skirball Theater (NYC), New World Symphony (FL), House of Yes (NYC), Skywalker Sound (CA), Carriage House Studio (CT) & Grand Street Studio (NYC).
As a composer, their work has been performed in various venues in New York and Canada--most recently “like stars or cranes” was performed in both London, ON & Montreal, QC by Vaso String Quartet, and their violin duo echo was performed at the NYU Youth Music festival. They have several upcoming premieres: lyric poem ‘of all the [stars] the most beautiful’’ for electric guitar by Canadian guitarist Andrew Noseworthy (NYC and Toronto), Firn for violin, cello & marimba by Yaz, Lydia Paulos & Nicholas Hall at Scholes Street Studio (Brooklyn), mosaic for solo piano by Andrea Lodge & choreographed by Zuri Noelle at the NYU Pulsing & Shaking Festival & a currently untitled work for percussion duo + tape for Washington Squared on the topic of gun violence in the US.
Yaz has been published in both print & online sources like Potluck Magazine, Minetta Review & Dion Ys Us, as well as in three self-published chapbooks: Big and Small and Black (2016), Sunshowers (2017) & small forms (2017). Of their work, National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes writes “[their] poetry displays a terrific mix of invention. Impressive metaphor and imagery appear amid formal experimentation… the poems balance a meditative solitude with speculative musing about human interaction and intimacy.” Yaz acted as the director of the 2017 & 2018 NYU Words & Sounds concerts, in which new musical works inspired by/incorporating poetry & other written text were premiered. This type of collaboration is very meaningful to them, as they frequently write poems to be set by composers (most notably their collaboration with NYC-based composer Sebastian Zel). They are currently working on upcoming collaborative projects with composer Zachary Seely & poet Myles Golden.
Yaz holds a BM (honors) in violin performance with a minor in poetry from New York University. Their previous mentors include violinists Christiane Pors, Jesse Mills, Adela Stajnochrova, Shmulik Katz & Gregory Fulkerson, poets Terrance Hayes, Elaine Equi, Robert Fitterman, Rachel Zucker, Meghan O’Rourke & Mark Bibbins, & composer Ariel Marx. Yaz is currently a MM student in the violin performance program at NYU, studying with Cyrus Beroukhim (violin), Joan La Barbara (composition) & Robert Honstein (composition).