Helen Yee

Helen Yee is a violinist, multi-instrumentalist, composer residing in the worlds of music between East and West, traditional and new, "high" and "low." Over her years in New York City she has taken the best of her classical training and then expanded beyond the confines of that tradition — to improvise and compose in multiple styles.

Since 1999 Ms Yee has been an original member of Invert, a New York City-based string quartet performing original music by its members and unique arrangements of works by other composers. Invert literally turns the format of the traditional string quartet on its head — they feature two cellists instead of the usual two violins. The group’s members are firmly rooted in rock, jazz and world musics and these influences are reflected in their compositions, which range from pieces evocative of soundtracks from expressionist cinema to driving melodic works that often feature open sections of improvisation. Invert has been featured in Vanity Fair, Time Out NY and Baltimore Magazine and have performed at Irving Plaza, Joe’s Pub, the Knitting Factory, and The Kitchen. They have performed on bills with groups such as Ethel, The Rachels, Mission of Burma and have backed the rock band, Guided By Voices on their CD, Universal Truths and Cycles. In Fall 2005 Invert toured the US, opening for Rachel’s in venues as varied as The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and Cactus Cafe in Austin, TX.

Ms Yee has performed in Off Off Broadway productions of experimental theatre, including work with Mabou Mines. And in Fall 2006 she wrote and performed music for solo violin for the darkly comedic play, Krankenhaus Blues, produced by Visible Theatre. Helen Yee has also performed and recorded with a number of rock/pop/hip-hop bands including Mairead, Twenty% Tippers, Too Cynical to Cry and Neycha. As a session musician she has contributed to a number of movie soundtracks, including Cost of Living, Number One, Tug of War, and Martin Scorcese’s Kundun.

She has performed extensively in the New York area in venues as diverse as CBGB’s, Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has been part of residencies at Colgate University, Peabody Conservatory, workshops at Manhattan School of Music, and her experience includes many workshops for children in arts-in-education programs. She was also recently a presenter on the subjects of alternative chamber music and strings around the world at the recent American String Teachers Association national conference.

Helen Yee has also been a long-time member of Music From China, for which she performs on yangqin and percussion. Music From China, an ensemble that performs traditional and new music on traditional Chinese instruments, is a recipient of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP award for adventurous programming. In 2000 she appeared on the stage with Yo-Yo Ma and Music From China in a concert of new work by Zhou Long, at Washington D.C.’s Freer Gallery.

A native of New York, Ms Yee began with classical training and after earning her BA at Yale University continued her studies in jazz and improvisation, including work with Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Rob Thomas, Richard Tabnik and Roni Ben-Hur. In addition, she has also explored improvisation in other contexts including Sound Painting™ as directed by Walter Thompson and vocal and instrumental improvisation with various groups including Music For People.

[source: www.quatuorbozzini.ca] [ii-12]

Helen Yee

  • Composer

On the web


Past concerts

21 Sept 2001
In person
New York City (New York, USA)
11 Augu 2001
5:00 pm
In person
Montréal (Québec)