Vienna Teng (Photo by Karen Shih)
Vienna Teng’s going back on the road! This isn’t a traditional tour for the DC pianist: multiple shows at intimate venues, free climate action workshops with small groups, and maybe some extra surprises.
On her website, Vienna describes “how she would classify her music.”
She said: “Most of the time I say ‘chamber folk’ or ‘indie pop’ or mumble something like ‘I grew up playing classical piano and lately I’ve been doing a lot of vocal looping.’ I’d like the experience of my music to be like a good dinner party, comfort food with a few experiments thrown in, where conversation stretches ’til 2 in the morning and books get pulled off the shelf to take home. Whatever gets you to that place, that’s what I’m going for.”
Watch Vienna Teng perform “The Hymn of Acxiom” live at The Independent on YouTube:
“I was in a long-distance relationship with music for many years,” joked Vienna. Long-distance, perhaps, but long-running. In 2002, Vienna released her debut album Waking Hour, landing her on NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Late Show with David Letterman, and the top of Amazon’s music charts. Four more albums followed, most recently Aims in 2013, as well as the music for The Fourth Messenger by playwright Tanya Shaffer. Together with Vienna’s captivating live performances and thoughtful online presence, her work has built a devoted following across generations and continents.
Still, other pursuits have always beckoned. Vienna returned to academia in 2010 to study environmental sustainability, which led to a new career working on climate change, energy, and waste issues. She also became a bonus parent to her partner’s two kids, and in early 2020 welcomed a newborn addition to the family — just in time for pandemic lockdown.
“I learned a lot about what it means to hold two truths in your head at the same time, as the saying goes,” Vienna said of that period. Out of that idea emerged some of the most intricate and impassioned songwriting she’s ever done: a pair of songs called “We’ve Got You,” about leading and leaning on one’s community. When she performs it on stage — solo, live-looping her voice, keyboards and percussion to layer the two songs together — the audience response is electric.
Friday, April 21
Doors @ 6:30pm