photo by Angela So
If Andrew Bird, Philip Glass, and Joni Mitchell had an awkward lovechild, then raised that child on Cambodian and Greek folk tunes, the resulting spawn would be 1. an absolute miracle of quantum physics, and 2. Chrysanthe’s musical kindred spirit.
Chrysanthe Tan (they/she) is an autistic, Cambodian-Greek-American composer, violinist, and singer-songwriter named by Arts Boston as 1 of 10 Contemporary LGBTQ Composers You Should Know in 2018. As a solo artist, she performs electroacoustic musical poetry and chamber folk-pop, and as a composer, their work indulges the intersection of music and spoken word. Chrysanthe’s fixation with verbal expression, text, and the implications of language stems from her lifelong challenges with verbal processing and idiomatic interpretation. Their work has been performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rockefeller Center, New Orleans Jazz Festival’s Rising Artist Series, US Embassy in Cambodia, ÆPEX Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Syros Sound Meetings, and more.
As a violinist, Chrysanthe straddles the pop and experimental worlds: She’s toured the world as pop star Ariana Grande’s violinist and string transcriber, toured a couple continents with Paul Anka, recorded and performed with Halsey, Bastille, PJ Morton, Alicia Keys, Common, and more. Chrysanthe also performs in a violin-guitar duo called Duo Meranti, her longtime collaboration with guitarist-composer Sean Hayward that features contemporary and folk-oriented work from the Los Angeles and Balkan diasporas. Duo Meranti is working on their first album, consisting entirely of commissioned work from living composers.
Chrysanthe earned their BA in Creative Writing from Stanford University, MFA in Creative Writing from California Institute of the Arts, and MFA in Music Composition and Violin Performance from CalArts. A vocal advocate for autistic, queer, and minority representation in music, Chrysanthe is also a published writer, podcaster, Star Wars prequel apologist, and emerging host/producer with Classical KUSC radio station, where she helps to develop content for newer voices and audiences.
High-res photos for promotional use below. Photo credits as captioned.