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All photos are taken by

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

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ABOUT ME

Hi, my name is Shi-An Costello, welcome to my website. Out of all the internet places you could be, you are here, and I very much appreciate that. I would like to give you an idea of who I am, what I’ve done, and how I’ve become the person I am today. (Please scroll down to find my professional artist bio).

As a professional musician today, I am still driven by my earliest childhood passion for sports. Through my adolescent years, I hoped to become a professional athlete, with an enthusiastic love for the games of baseball, basketball and soccer. But even then, I loved music too. so I asked my wonderful and patient piano teacher, David Andrews in Chicago, if it was possible to do what Deion Sanders did (play in multiple pro sports leagues simultaneously), but take it a step further, and be a professional classical musician as well. David told me, (wisely), no, that is not possible. At that point I chalked up music as a hobby, and focused on sports.

Though I didn’t make it in sports, and eventually became a musician, I still take with me the work ethic, the brutal honesty of winning and losing, and the creativity involved in understanding one’s own body and role within a team. Due to an all-consuming passion for sports, and no friends, family or role models in music, I entered classical music rather awkwardly. I remember the embarrassment over not knowing what “Juilliard” meant, when others my age revered the school as highly renowned—to my knowledge, it was just a ballet school Julia Stiles wanted to go to in Save The Last Dance. I often felt confused and alienated from classical music, but I loved the music enough to enter it anyway. Fueled with passion, a mental and physical mindset of an athlete, and a few great teachers along the way, I eventually entered institutions like McGill University in Montréal, Canada, and found jobs at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and New Music School.

Today, as a pianist, composer and sound artist, I am interested in imperfect recordings of found sounds, “voice memos” that capture a mysterious fragment of one’s sonic life—the ambient din of a normal day, or the speaking voices of those they know and love. Recent musical compositions, such as ~waves~, for Chromic Duo and the 25th Annual Asian American Jazz Festival in fall 2020, use spoken words, and ambient sounds of those voice memos; water, a 2021 album of electronic music explores the captured quirks of live performances and private improvisations; and Household Sounds of Chicago (CTT Cut), an excerpt commissioned by High Concept Labs and Walder Foundation in summer 2021, sources its sonic material from 11 submissions from households spanning neighborhoods across Chicago, a sort of time capsule into what it sounded like to live in Chicago in the winter of 2020-2021.

Some Fun Facts:

  •  I have played the studio piano part to Flight of the Butterflies (2012), and have been featured in Zahra Partovi’s Softly - A GIANT STEP (2017)

  •  I gigged as a third-string trombonist, playing for DePaul University’s NCAA Big Ten basketball home games.

  •  I contributed poetry and prose to Riksha, chicshifter, Scout & Birdie, and Chrysanthemum: Voices of the Taiwanese Diaspora.

  •  I  moonlight as an actor in local Chicago theaters, performing at venues like Victory Gardens, Stage 773, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

BIOGRAPHY (459 words)

Pronunciation: SHEE-AHN or SHR-AHN (世 安)
Pronouns: they/them/theirs or he/him/his

Shi-An Costello 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).

As a composer, Shi-An has written new works for Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.), Access Contemporary Music, Chromic Duo, The Response Project, trickpony, Jonathan Hannau, and most recently, for himself, in a High Concept Labs commission. His works have been performed by Conservatoire de musique de Lausanne, Timepoint Ensemble, Thin Edge New Music Collective, ThingNY, and Sandra Wright Shen, among many others. 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’s latest 2021 release, [alloy]: new works for prepared piano, Greg Nahabedian of I Care If You Listen writes: “[alloy] is remarkable in its curation: there truly is something for everyone-at least as far as fans of contemporary classical music go . . .  Costello has done an amazing job of performing the music in a way that is faithful to the compositions while sequencing the tracks in a cohesive manner and creating a musical through-line...” Preceding alloy, Costello’s released two commercial solo albums of works from the classical canon on Blue Griffin Records, Rounded Binary (2018), and Posthumous (2020), as well as a self-released project under his electronic artist name, Coshian, water (2021). Sean Shibe of The Arts Desk writes of Costello’s album,  Rounded Binary: Preludes and Fugues of J.S. Bach and Dmitri Shostakovitch, “Bach and Shostakovich ingeniously conjoined with a brilliant mash-up of both composer’s C major preludes: possibly the most enchanting little piano piece I've heard all year.”

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, and the Walder Foundation.

 

CONCISE BIO (247 words)

 

A versatile pianist, composer and sound artist, Shi-An Costello 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). As a composer, Shi-An has written new works for Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble, Access Contemporary Music, Chromic Duo, The Response Project, trickpony, Jonathan Hannau, and most recently, for himself, a High Concept Labs commission. Shi-An’s latest 2021 release, [alloy]: new works for prepared piano, Greg Nahabedian of I Care If You Listen writes: “[alloy] is remarkable in its curation: there truly is something for everyone ...  Costello has done an amazing job of performing the music in a way that is faithful to the compositions while sequencing the tracks in a cohesive manner and creating a musical through-line...” Preceding [alloy], Costello’s released two commercial solo albums of works from the classical canon on Blue Griffin Records, Rounded Binary (2018), and Posthumous (2020), as well as a self-released project under his electronic artist name, Coshian, water (2021). Costello previously held position as  Visiting Artist and Piano faculty at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and New Music School. He holds degrees in Music Composition and Performance from Columbia College and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.