Ian Yan: Hong Kong to Broadway!

Part III of the series on Ian Yan – look for parts I & II in Words4Culture.com and OmniArtists.com. All by Jen Bush

Location, location, location!  If you want to give your regards to Broadway and pursue a career in the arts, New York City is the place to be!  Mr. Yan knew that studying at the prestigious Columbia University would give him a great start in the arts.  “I first came to the United States in 2018 to begin my studies at Columbia University. I wanted to pursue a more holistic education than I would have otherwise gotten in the UK, where I went to  high school. I chose to study at Columbia specifically because of its location in New York City — at the time, I did not know that I wanted to pursue music as seriously as I am now, but I knew  that being in the city would allow me to fully pursue and explore that option if I wanted. NYC is arguably the culture capital of the world, and with that in my backyard, I attended jazz clubs, concerts, pop shows, Broadway shows, museums… all informing the art that I slowly realized that I wanted to create.”

The scope of musical theater in Mr. Yan’s home country of Hong Kong cannot compare to the bounty of it in New York City.  “Specifically in the world of the field of arts that I am most interested in — musical theater, the United States and particularly New York City is the best place to be. There is simply a far, far, far larger scene for theater and the arts in general in New York City compared to my native Hong  Kong. New York City is where writers and artists from around the world come, whether to for up-and-comers to cut their teeth in the industry or veterans alike. For what I want to do with my life, I am right where I need to be here.” 

Mr. Yan respects originality and risk taking in music.  “I am most drawn to music (or any art, for that matter) that is unashamedly, unabashedly itself.  When I am listening or watching something and get the sense that this could only have been written or created by the brains of the particular people who wrote it, I find myself admiring it — even when, or perhaps even especially when it is something that does not particularly resonate with me personally.”

Mr. Yan has an exciting new piece in the works as well as a gig at the Public Theater.  “I am currently working on a new musical with my current writing partner, Patrick Swailes Caldwell. Currently, our working title is 4PM Cermaics Class in the Bizon Nebula. We are writing this musical as part of the MTWC (Musical Theater Writers’ Collective), a new musical theater writing program for emerging writers, directed and founded by Kleban-award winning lyricist and librettist Sam Carner. We will be having a staged reading in mid-May.” 

“I am also currently the Score Manager on the production of The Harder They Come, currently in previews at the Public Theater. I am also a sub for the Key 2 part in the band, so once the show opens, I will be performing as part of the band as well.” 

There is no shortage of opportunities for this talented musician who is working hard to ensure that the musical soundtrack of life remains interesting.  ‘I very recently got an offer from Tony-winning Music Supervisor and Orchestrator Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, In The Heights, Tick, Tick…Boom!) to be the Music Associate for a  reading of a new project featuring the music of The Killers. I accepted the position and will assume the role in mid-March.”

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