yuniya edi kwon (b. 1989 – aka eddy kwon) is a violinist, vocalist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Lenapehoking, or New York City. Her practice connects composition, improvisation, movement, and ceremony to explore transformation & transgression, ritual practice as a tool to queer ancestral lineage, and the use of mythology to connect, obscure, and reveal.
As a composer-performer and improviser, she is inspired by Korean folk timbres & inflections, textures & movement from natural environments, and American experimentalism as shaped by the AACM. Her work as a choreographer and movement artist embodies an expressive release and reclamation of colonialism’s spiritual imprints, connecting to both Japanese Butoh and a lineage of queer trans practitioners of Korean shamanic ritual.
She is a recipient of the 2023 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Robert Rauschenberg Award in Music/Sound, a 2023-25 Arts Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, 2024 Civitella Ranieri Fellow, United States Artists Ford Fellow, 2022 Herb Alpert Ucross Residency Prize, Van Lier Fellow & Resident Artist at Roulette Intermedium, Johnson Fellow at Americans for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Artist-in-Residence at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Hermitage Fellow, and a recipient of the National Performance Network Creation Fund Award. She was described as “absolutely stunning” in a feature in Wire Magazine, and was listed as one of the Washington Post’s “22 for ‘22: Composers and performers to watch this year.”
In addition to an evolving, interdisciplinary solo practice, she collaborates with artists of diverse disciplines, including The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Du Yun, Holland Andrews, Tomeka Reid, Kenneth Tam, Isabel Crespo Pardo, Mariah Garnett, International Contemporary Ensemble, and as a member of the artist collective Juni One Set with Senga Nengudi and Degenerate Art Ensemble co-directors Haruko Crow Nishimura and Joshua Kohl. In 2023, eddy founded SUN HAN GUILD, a sound and performance collective with composer-improvisers Laura Cocks, Jessie Cox, DoYeon Kim, and Lester St. Louis.
As a violinist, violist, and/or vocalist, she has performed alongside Roscoe Mitchell, Moor Mother, Mary Halvorson, Nicole Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Cory Smythe, Susan Alcorn, Carla Kihlstedt, Jessika Kenney, Lesley Mok, and others. She has performed throughout the Americas and Europe, including the Kennedy Center, Big Ears Festival, Kaufman Center, Roulette Intermedium, SESC Pompeia, Barbican Centre, Jazzfest Berlin, Festival Sons d’hivers, Festival Banlieues Bleues, moers festival, and more. Commissions include Roulette Intermedium, Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, National Performance Network, and Colorado College Creativity & Innovation.
She was born and raised in Minnesota, on the ancestral land of the Dakhóta and Anishinaabeg.
In my life, I use sound and ritual to create spaces of intense presence and transformation. In all I do, I hope to be radically present with the ongoing, transformational miracle of life, and to share generously with others its resonances, whispers, and subterranean logics. I draw from, and am nourished by, the spiritual and cultural continuums of queer trans artist communities from around the world, and particularly the extraordinary history of trans Korean shamans active during the periods of colonization, occupation, and rebellion. Through a relational practice, I summon an opening through which I might access a creative, spiritual ancestry that can include, support, and embrace me. To share this opening with others, then, is to co-create affirming, inclusive lineages and families, and reject limiting, cisheteropatriarchal ideas of bloodlines and biological ancestry.