Composer Byron Au Yong to perform ‘songs of survival’ at Idylwood Beach Park

Art has a way of sneaking up on people, thanks to 4Culture’s Site-Specific Performance Network.

Art has a way of sneaking up on people, thanks to 4Culture’s Site-Specific Performance Network.

Created in 2005, the network takes unique art experiences out of the traditional museum or theater setting and into places where people are going about their ordinary, daily business — paying a bill, walking the dog or whatnot.

This summer, musician/composer Byron Au Yong has been traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest, presenting a work called “Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas.”

On August 28, he’ll be in Redmond, specifically at Idylwood Beach Park, near the Ed Carpenter sculpture called “Silver Thaw” (Redmond City Hall), Grass Lawn Park and Luke McRedmond Landing.

“There are no set times. The artists will go from site to site during the day,” explained Mary Yelanjian, arts administrator for the City of Redmond.

In other words, the element of surprise is at work.

Au Yong explained that scientists and global leaders worry that the world’s future challenges revolve around water. “These Bottled Operas are meant to be carried through catastrophes. I think about straining water resources and compose songs of survival,” he said.

Opera singers and percussionists perform the Bottled Operas, near natural water ways or man-made water features. Audience members from all walks of life are encouraged to ponder the forces of nature and humanity.

The entertainment “includes songs of human foibles set amidst tales of droughts, floods and bottled water,” said Yelanjian.

Au Yong creates ceremonial music events for voices with Asian, European and hand-made instruments. His works have been performed in Canada, China, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

If you miss his appearances in Redmond, he’ll also present “Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas” at the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle Aug. 29-31.

For more information about Byron Au Yong, visit

Mary Stevens Decker can be reached at or at (425) 867-0353, ext. 5052.