Elaine Chew Resume

      Elaine Chew is an American-born classical pianist / music scientist who has spent her childhood in Singapore and most of her adult and professional life in the Eastern and Western United States; moving recently to the United Kingdom, she is now based in London, where she holds the Digital Media Chair in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London.

Equally at home with traditional and contemporary repertoire, Elaine Chew has performed widely as soloist and chamber musician in Asia, Europe, and North America. She has worked with numerous composers to present their work. Her recording of Ivan Tcherepnin's FĂȘtes (Variations on Happy Birthday) is featured on WGBH's Art of the States, an online resource for contemporary American repertoire. Her performances of music of Peter Child can be heard on Albany and Neuma Records.

Chew is deeply passionate about communicating her art to a wide range of audiences, and in furthering the boundaries and understanding of music. She uses creative programming to draw attention to similarities between music from different milieu, and between music and other forms of thinking and representation. For example, her concert-photo exhibition, Impressions, shown at various venues in the United States, juxtaposed Impressionist French and contemporary Chinese music inspired by Japanese paintings.

Dually trained as a musician and a researcher, she engages mathematics and scientific visualisation to make apparent the connections between music and space (shapes/gestures/geometry) so as to explain why and how musicians do what they do (compose/interpret/perform). Her recent lecture-recital at the Music and Shape Conference at King's College used scientific visualisation to show the effect of loudness envelopes on decisions on timing in music performance.

She incorporates these discoveries and insights into concert conversations designed to help audiences better understand aspects of the musician's creative process, and more actively appreciate the music that they hear. She has used MuSA.RT, the tonal visualisation software based on her mathematical model of tonality, to demonstrate how PDQ Bach creates musical humour by violating the listener's expectations. Another concert-conversation, Musical Patois: Reflections of Language in Music, linked musicology, neuroscience, scientific visualisation, composition, and performance to explore the influence of a musician's native tongue on her/his musical style.

Updated:  November 22, 2012

Back to Profile