Yaz Lancaster (b. 1996) is a violinist, poet and composer based in New York. They received a B.M. in string studies (violin) and a minor in creative writing (poetry) from New York University in spring 2018 where they studied with primary teachers Shmulik Katz, Jesse Mills and Christiane Pors-Sadoff, and with Adela Stajnochrova while abroad in Prague during the spring of 2016. They have also studied chamber music with Gregory Fulkerson. Yaz is currently pursuing a M.M. in string studies (violin) at NYU under the tutelage of Cyrus Beroukhim.
Yaz has a wide-range of performing experience: they regularly perform in orchestras, NYU Baroque Ensemble under Myron Lutzke, New Music Ensemble under Dr. Esther Lamneck, musicals and string chamber music, frequently perform & collaborate on new compositions (most notably through the NYU Composers' Collective), perform on lead pan with the NYU Steel Ensemble under the direction of Josh Quillen, and provide violin, syntheszier and back-up vocals for the NYC-based indie R&B band SARIAN. They have performed in master classes taught by Laurie Hamilton and Peter Herresthal. Yaz was invited on scholarship to perform in the Miami Music Festival in 2016 where they studied with Yuriy Bekker and Gary Levinson, and performed large-scale orchestra works and operas including Die Walküre and The Crucible. Most recently, Yaz attended the 2018 New Music on the Point festival in Vermont where they performed new works by participants, as well as by Ted Hearne & George Lewis alongside members of JACK Quartet and Tony Arnold. Notable performance venues: Pálffy Palác (Prague), Honolulu Theatre (HI), Pulsing & Shaking 2018 (NYU), NYU Philip Glass Festival 2017 in Skirball Theatre (NYC), New World Symphony (Miami), Brandon Town Hall Center (VT), Mercury Lounge (NYC), House of Yes (NYC), New Women Space (NYC), Pianos (NYC). Notable recording studios: Skywalker Sound (CA), Carriage House (CT), Grand Street (NYC), James L. Dolan Recording Studio (NYC), Clive Davis Institute (NYC).
In terms of composition, Yaz is currently interested in simplicity, timbral and textural colors, and patterns (establishing, noticing, expanding and disrupting them). As an undergraduate, Yaz studied with Ariel Marx. They are currently in the studios of Joan La Barbara and Robert Honstein. Recently, their string quartet 'like stars or cranes' inspired by poetry by Jay Julio was premiered at the 2018 Words & Sounds concert at NYU. Deeply infatuated with percussion music, Yaz has written a work for solo marimba, a chamber work for alto/violin/bass clarinet/steel pan, an arrangement of Hiatus Kaiyote's 'By Fire' for steel ensemble, and is currently working on a duo for NYC-based Washington Squared Duo. Yaz also enjoys writing music for young musicians and is looking forward to having their duo echo for two violins performed at the NYU Youth Music Festival this October, and is currently writing a piece for string orchestra for Mountain View High School.
Their poetry studies began in summer 2015 when they spontaneously participated in the NYU Writers in Florence program with Mark Bibbins and Meghan O'Rourke. Since then, they have taken workshops with Rachel Zucker, Robert Fitterman, Elaine Equi and the spring 2018 undergraduate master class with Terrance Hayes. They have multiple publications including online: Potluck Magazine and Dion Ys Us, print publications: Minetta Review, and self-published chapbooks including: Big and Small and Black (2016) and small forms (2017). They have interned with the Poetry Project since August 2017.