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All press photos are taken by

Phil Parcellano, and are available in high definition upon request.

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BIOGRAPHY

Pronunciation: SHEE-AHN or SHR-AHN (世 安)

Pronouns: they/them/theirs or he/him/his

Shi-An Costello (b. 1987) is a musician with deep roots in contemporary art practices. A versatile pianist, composer and sound artist, Shi-An has been described as a “precise, engaged, welcoming performer, unafraid of deep ambiguities“ (The Reader), “in such spare textures and hushed dynamics, the smallest development seems seismic” (Chicago Classical Review), and on his piano interpretations of Shostakovitch and Schumann, “a tour de force ... steely and granitic [Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87]” and “dreamy and sensitive [Davidsbundlertanze]” (Boston Musical Intelligencer).

A proud mixed race Asian American of Taiwanese, Chinese and Irish descent, Shi-An recently composed and performed the orient, a large scale solo piano work about race and heritage, presented in collaboration with Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago as part of the 2023 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In a feature article in the Reader, writer Hannah Edgar summarizes the work: "The Orient originated in an insidious earworm: the three-pitch, nine-note 'Asian riff,' deployed as racial caricature in pop culture for more than a century. Instead of pushing it out of his head, Costello leaned into his discomfort, using the riff to build out what would become The Orient [...] Throughout The Orient, Costello takes the riff as a jumping-off point to document cultural and historical touchstones of the Asian American experience."

As a composer, Shi-An has received commissions from Access Contemporary Music, High Concept Labs, The Response Project, Chromic, The _____ Experimentmasso quartet, Missing Piece, artist G. Funo O’Kain. violinist Marina Kifferstein, vocalist Sarah Albu, harpsichordist Francis Yun, and pianists Jonathan Hannau, Cacie Miller, and Magnus Villanueva. His music has been programmed by Sandra Wright Shen, International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.), Thin Edge New Music Collective, Timepoint Ensemble, ThingNY and the Conservatoire de musique de Lausanne. Shi-An’s compositions have been featured at ​Contemporary Arts Center, Tribeca New Music New York, Chicago Cultural Center, Garth Newel Music Center, Asian Improv Arts Midwest, Université de Montréal, Pollack Hall and Redpath Hall of McGill University, Dalhousie University, University of Richmond, Constellation Chicago and Array Music Toronto.

Hailed by Philippe Leroux as “Shi-An finds the depth in every note” and the late Frederic Rzewski as “a winner,” Shi-An, as a pianist, has worked personally with over 150 composers from all over the world in solo, ensemble and chamber settings. Shi-An has commissioned new works by Viet Cuong, Danny Clay, Igor SantosAlex Temple, Ana Paola Santillan Alcocer, AJ Santillan, morgan krauss, Jimmie Leblanc, David Reminick, Marielle Groven, Kurt Isaacson, and has worked personally with composers Philippe Leroux, Frederic Rzewski, Jerome Kitzke, Serge Provost, Keeril Makan, Marti Epstein, Anthony Cheung, James O’Callaghan, Eliza Brown, and many other brilliant musical minds from around the world.

A dedicated arts advocate and administrator, Costello is the Founder and Executive Director of Keymore, a newly forming educational initiative in Chicago, and serves on the Board of Directors of New Music Chicago and The _____ Experiment. Previously, Costello founded and directed the Morton Feldman Chamber Players (MFCP) from 2013-2017, founded and served as artistic director of Vox Humana collective of speaking musicians from 2011-2013, and co-founded and served as president of Cadre composer collective at Columbia College from 2008-2010. He has also curated events at Experimental Sound Studio, Narloch Piano Studio, Marvin Duchow Music Library of McGill University, and Cathédrale Christ Church (Montreal).

Costello previously held position as Visiting Artist and Piano Faculty at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and New Music School. He has been a guest artist lecturer at numerous universities and institutions across North America. He holds degrees in Music Composition and Performance from Columbia College and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. 

Costello has received generous project support from the Conseil des Arts du Canada, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Chicago Department of Cultural and Special Events, Cliff Dwellers Club, Amphion Foundation, American Music Project, and the Walder Foundation.​

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SOME LISTS

Shi-An has been a featured guest artist at the following institutions:

  • Boston Conservatory at Berklee

  • University of Calgary

  • University of Toronto

  • University of Ottawa

  • University of Chicago

  • McGill University (alma mater)

  • Columbia College (alma mater)

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

  • Lake Forest College

  • Northwestern University

  • Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal

  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • University of Nebraska-Kearney

  • Brandeis University

  • Scotia Chamber Music Festival

  • KANEKO in Omaha, NE

  • Women’s Composers Festival of Hartford

  • Laboratoire de Musique Contemporaine de Montréal

 

Has collaborated with:

  • Members of Honolulu Symphony Orchestra

  • Members of Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal

  • Members of Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal

  • Members of Toronto Symphony Orchestra 

  • Members of Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra

  • Members of Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

  • Members of Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • Members of International Contemporary Ensemble

  • Members of Dal Niente 

  • Fulcrum Point New Music Project

  • Architek Percussion

  • Warhol Dervish

  • Morton Feldman Chamber Players (founding pianist)

  • NON:Op

 

Has played at:

  • La Musée de beaux-arts de Montréal

  • Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur

  • La Muse Héritage Musical at Oscar Peterson Hall

  • Chicago Cultural Center

  • Ear Taxi Festival 2016 at Harris Theater

  • Ear Taxi Festival 2021 at Logan Center for the Arts

  • Pianoforte Salon Series and Live Series

  • Writers Theatre

  • Alliance Française de Chicago

  • Innovations en Concert

  • Kim Kashkashian’s Music for Food

  • George Flynn’s Chicago Soundings

 

Shi-An has worked as an accompanist for:

  • Interlochen Center for the Arts

  • the vocal competition of Lyric Opera of New York

  • Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • the percussion Area of Schulich School of Music at McGill University

  • instrumental programs at DePaul University and Roosevelt University

  • the vocal department of North Park University

  • the Music Theater Training Academy of New Music School

  • the DePaul Concerto Competition

  • Midwest Young Artists Concerto Competition

  • various state and national competitions and festivals

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