Dr. Eugenia Yau has inspired me to achieve excellence in doing what I love to do. -Shanade

Eugenia Yau
Dr. Eugenia Oi Yan Yau

Eugenia Oi Yan Yau, soprano, is the chairperson at Borough of Manhattan Community College (City University of New York). At BMCC, she directs all Choral Programs, including the College Chorus, Concert Chorus, and Downtown Community Chorus. Her choruses have been featured in both commercial and traditional classical performance venues, including the 2010 US Open with Gloria Estefan, 9/11 Memorial for Recovery Workers on May 30, 2012, and Masterwork Series Spring Concerts (under Manhattan Concert Productions) at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center since 2008. Dr. Yau is one of eight leaders (amongst all 25 CUNY Colleges) for the 2019-2020 Diversifying CUNY’s Leadership: A CUNY-Harvard Consortium. This program, which aims to cultivate a diverse group of future leaders, supports and celebrates CUNY’s commitment to a diverse community that is inclusive of all groups and individuals. As part of the program, Dr. Yau participated in a two-week-long program hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education during the past summer, and has also created a CUNY Virtual Choir Project Spring 2020.

In addition, she is the director of music for Family Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (FAPC, New York City). At FAPC, she is in charge of music activities for the Family Ministries programs, including the Children’s Choir, Youth Choir, and annual Christmas Pageant productions. For the local Chinese communities, Dr. Yau has also been serving as a music consultant to the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), New York, since 2006 and has designed CPC after school and preschool music educational programs.

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Achievements

BMCC Music Degree Program

Conducting
Conducting Downtown Chorus

In the fall of 2014, Dr. Yau was nominated as the chair of music major proposal committee, leading seven full time music faculty in a three-year long haul challenging but rewarding mission. She initialized regular meetings, sub committees tackling job tasks, from designing curriculum, revising syllabi, obtaining articulation agreement with Lehman College, and to completing the entire major proposal. In July of 2017, the music major degree (AS in music with three specializations) was finally granted by the New York State Education Department. Shortly after, Dr. Yau was nominated as the chair of the Music and Art Department, launching this new music degree program along with the three years old Art Foundations Program.

With the music majors in place, as chair, Dr. Yau manages and organizes the music faculty with new activities including music auditions and placement tests (music theory and aural skills) for incoming music students. In addition, under Dr. Yau’s leadership, music faculty members spend extra time in preparing students for recitals, auditions, as well as showcase performances for perspective students during open houses (October, March and June) and high school choral workshops in spring. As of Spring 2020, the department is flooded with 200 music majors in three specializations—Music Studies, Music Education and Music Performance. Among four of our active ensembles (Orchestra, Chorus, String, Guitar, Jazz and Woodwind), the department produces more than 20 different music performances per semester, on and off campus. See more.

BMCC Choral Program

BMCC Choral Program
BMCC Choral Program

Prior to Dr. Yau’s service, BMCC had neither a choral program nor music and art major degrees. With her 15 years of hard work and dedication, our choruses have expanded the membership to nearly 90 people. The current BMCC choral program includes three separate choruses—College Chorus (previously Chorus, open to all BMCC students), Concert Choir (previously Select Chorus, for music major students) and Downtown Chorus (which is community based). Before the installation of the music majors in the fall of 2017, the majority of choral members were volunteer-based. For more than 10 years, Dr. Yau spent an average of ten pro-bono hours per week, from September to May, in building, promoting, curriculum designing and directing the choruses. This program has been a sound musical home and a solid choral foundation for our music majors, BMCC students, and community members.

In addition to regular on-campus performances averaging four times per year, the choral groups perform at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center every spring with renowned music directors including Drs. Anton Armstrong, Richard Bjella, René Clausen, Tim Sharp, Randal Stroope & André Thomas. These members experience, explore, learn and perform elite choral repertoire such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Vespers, Faure’s Requiem, Vaughn Williams’ ive Mystical Songs, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Forrest’s Jubilate Deo & Sir Jenkins’ The Armed Man. The choristers also perform with New York’s first-rate orchestras at these venues.

Her choruses were invited to perform with Gloria Estefan, a distinguished recording artist and seven-time Grammy Award winner at the 2010 US Open Tennis Championships in Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York. This performance was broadcast live on ESPN2, Tennis Channel, CBS and streamed live via the US Open official website (www.usopen.org) reaching 12.4 million television and internet viewers combined. In May of 2012, invited by the former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, our chorus was featured as the sole college choir at the 9/11 Memorial for Recovery Workers. The entire event was broadcast on both NY1 and ABC News.

College Chorus was founded in the fall of 2017. College Chorus is open to all BMCC students who are interested in learning, rehearsing, and performing standard choral literature. Diverse works are explored, from the great works of the past to the present day.

Concert Choir, formerly Select Chorus, is designed for music major students who will study and perform repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day.  Accompanied and a cappella compositions will be studied with an emphasis on proper blend, vowel placement, clear diction, and adherence to healthy vocal habits. In the past, Select Chorus functioned as a voluntary group; members participated in all scheduled activities without gaining any school credit. They loved the art of choral singing and shared what they learned with those who had a passion for music.

Among all BMCC choral and music ensembles, Select Chorus had been the most praised and recognized. Their significant achievements included annual appearances at BMCC Honors Convocation and Commencement. In addition, Select Chorus participated at the CUNY Choral Festivals at York College and won consecutive first prizes in the Classical division in the spring of 2006 and 2007. They were also featured in the 2010 US Open with Gloria Estefan and the 9/11 Memorial for Recovery Workers on May 30, 2012.

Since the establishment of the BMCC Music Majors program, Select Chorus was reconstructed and transformed into the Concert Choir. In the summer of 2017, the chorus was featured in the New York Philharmonic “New World Initiative” Concert with Dvorak American Heritage Association in Bohemian National Hall, Czech Center New York and Consulate General of the Czech Republic (hyperlink: https://www.newworldinitiative.com/borough-of-manhattan-community-college-select-chorus). As part of the BMCC Community Ambassador Program, Concert Choir performed as the sole holiday singers at the UNIQLO on Fifth Avenue in December 2018.

BMCC and Hunter College Chorus Collaboration, 2015
BMCC Choruses with Hunter College Chorus, 2016

Downtown Chorus was founded in the fall of 2006. This Chorus is dedicated to fostering and sharing the art and joy of choral music. With the goal of enriching and educating our city’s downtown community, the Chorus performs music from diverse historical periods and cultures. Members include students, faculty, and staff from BMCC, as well as residents of the downtown area. Downtown Chorus performs regularly on campus, including collaborations with the Downtown Symphony Orchestra on its Messiah Open Sing in December and Opera Production in May, and off campus with Manhattan Concert Productions in their spring projects at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Well-known repertoire includes Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms; Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem; Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo; George Frideric Handel’s Messiah; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Vespere solennes de confessore, K.339 & Requiem; Dr. Timothy Powell’s Dear Appalachia; Franz Schubert’s Mass in G; Robert Schuman’s Requiem, Dr. Tim Sharp’s High Lonesome Mass; Dr. Z. Randall Stroope’s American Rhapsody; Mack Wilberg’s Requiem Mass; and Vaughn Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.

Family Ministries Children's Music at FAPC

At Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (FAPC, New York City), one of the largest congregations of the Presbyterian churches nationally with over 10,000 members, as the Director of Music for Family Ministries since 2006, Dr. Yau has developed and sustained a vibrant program of 100 members, and produced annual Christmas pageant shows that have been mentioned in the New York Times. See more

Projects

CUNY Virtual Choir Project

Dr. Yau is one of eight leaders (amongst all 25 CUNY Colleges) for the 2019-2020 Diversifying CUNY’s Leadership: A CUNY-Harvard Consortium. This program, which aims to cultivate a diverse group of future leaders, supports and celebrates CUNY’s commitment to a diverse community that is inclusive of all groups and individuals. As part of the program, Dr. Yau participated in a two-week-long program hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education during the past summer, and has also created a CUNY Virtual Choir Project.

The CUNY Virtual Choir Project will extend this experience to include groups beyond the physical boundaries of a rehearsal space, bringing diverse voices from different campuses into a mix. While traditional choral singing in the same physical space is great, the logistics of combining choirs from more than two campuses become overwhelming.

The two songs featured in this project are Together Now (by Angus and Dietz) and We Are Everywhere (by Olgun and Douglas). These songs are fun, catchy and easy to sing along, with strong lyrics celebrating the college’s mission of diversity, inclusion, acceptance and belonging.

Public access submission is available, from February 4 through March 31, 2020. Each of the submitted videos will be synchronized and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir, that will be played and live-streamed during the choral concert—Under One Sky, on May 5, 2020 (7:30 p.m. in Theater II) in BMCC Chambers Street campus.

Community Children's Music

As an active member of the Chinese-American community, Dr. Yau has served as a music specialist to the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) while creating a children’s music program for their five main centers: Chung Pak Day Care, Garment Industry Day Care, Jacob Riis Early Childhood Center, Little Star of Broome Street, and Tribeca Early Learning Center in New York’s Chinatown since 2008. Currently, the music program caters to more than 100 children.

Dr. Yau created and produced children’s graduation musicals including Fish Jumping Over the Dragon Gate, Where the Wild Things Are, Chicken Little, The Empty Pot, and The Giving Tree and the Farmer, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Old Man and the Mountains, Rainbow Fish, Little Red Riding Hook & How Crayons Saved the Rainbow.

Bio

Eugenia Yau is the chairperson of Music and Art Department, and professor of music at Borough of Manhattan Community College (City University of New York).  The department has 23 full-time and 85 adjunct faculty members, catering to two degree-programs—Art Foundations and Music for more than 500 student majors.

At BMCC, in addition to her chairperson responsibilities, Dr. Yau is in-charge of the Choral Programs including the College Chorus, Concert Choir, and Downtown Community Chorus, which she founded in the fall of 2006. Her choruses have been featured in both commercial and traditional classical performance venues, including the Masterwork Series Spring Concerts (under Manhattan Concert Productions) at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center since 2008, performing well-known choral works ranging from Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Faure’s Requiem, Forrest's Jubilate Deo, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes De Confessore, Schubert’s Mass in G, and Vaughn Williams’s Five Mystical Songs; 9/11 Memorial for Recovery Workers on May 30, 2012; and 2010 US Open with Gloria Estefan.

Besides her teaching duties at BMCC, Yau maintains an active schedule of presenting lecture-recitals on Chinese, German and American art songs at institutions including the University of Texas, University of Michigan, National University of Singapore, Hong Kong Baptist University and De La Salle Lipa University in the Philippines. She has also performed as soprano soloist with the Hong Kong Baptist University Orchestra, Borough of Manhattan Community College Downtown Symphony Orchestra, Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, University of Texas Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra, and Southwest Texas State University Chorale and Orchestra.

Furthermore, Dr. Yau is the Director of Music for Family Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (FAPC, New York City). At FAPC, she is in-charge of music programs including the Children’s Choir, Youth Choir, and annual Christmas Pageant productions with more than 100 participants. Dr. Yau has regularly been featured as vocal artist of global literature for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for its national and international assemblies and conventions since 2004. As one of the eight Art and Humanities Councilors at the Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR), Dr. Yau has been active promoting diversity and inclusion ​events and programs in the academia. As an immigrant from Hong Kong (China), Dr. Yau is passionate about all immigration matters in her local communities and has been serving as a music consultant to design after school and preschool music educational programs at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), New York since 2006.

Dr. Yau received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Hong Kong Baptist University, Master’s Degree at Texas State University, Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance at the University of Texas at Austin, and MBA Degree in Southwestern College in Winfield (Kansas). She has also received professional recognition, including the Fellowship Diploma of Singing from Trinity College of Music in London, the Licentiate Diploma of Singing from Royal Schools of Music at London, and Kodály Music Education Certifications (Levels I, II & III) from New York University.

(Updated February 2020)

Contact

Eugenia Oi Yan Yau, DMA
Chairperson & Professor of Music

Office Address

Department of Music and Art
Fiterman Hall Room F1130A
245 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007

Mailing Address

Department of Music and Art
Fiterman Hall Room F1130A
199 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Phone

(212) 776-7240 or (212) 220-8000 ext 7240
Fax: (212) 220-1285

Email

eyau@bmcc.cuny.edu