|Birth name||Cynthia Yih Shih
(Chinese: 史逸欣; pinyin: Shǐ Yìxīn)
October 3, 1978 |
Saratoga, California, U.S.
|Genres||Folk, pop, indie folk, chamber pop|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar|
Cynthia Yih Shih (born October 3, 1978, Saratoga, California), better known by her stage name Vienna Teng, is a Taiwanese American pianist and singer-songwriter based in Detroit, Michigan. Teng has released five studio albums: Waking Hour (2002), Warm Strangers (2004), Dreaming Through the Noise (2006), Inland Territory (2009) and Aims (2013). She has also released one live album, The Moment Always Vanishing (2009), on which she is double-billed with her percussionist, Alex Wong.
Early life, education, and early career
A native of Saratoga, California, she began playing classical piano at age 5. In 1996, whilst pursuing a degree in computer science at Stanford University, Teng joined the Stanford Harmonics, a student-run a cappella group. She began recording her compositions at the studios in Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), intending to distribute her music on campus. Many of these recordings were eventually released in her début album Waking Hour. After graduating in 2000, Teng worked as a software engineer for Cisco Systems in San Jose, but she continued to write music and perform in her free time. In 2002, Teng signed with Virt Records and quit Cisco Systems to focus on her musical career.
Waking Hour and Warm Strangers
Teng's first major national exposure was on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition in January 2003, followed shortly thereafter by CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. She has since made appearances on the CBS Saturday Early Show, CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown and The Wayne Brady Show, and opened concerts for Joan Baez, Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne, India.Arie, Brandi Carlile, Sarah Harmer and Marc Cohn. Her first album, Waking Hour, peaked at #5 on the Amazon.com bestseller list; her second album, Warm Strangers, reached as high as #2. In 2006, Teng signed with Zoë/Rounder.
Dreaming Through the Noise
From December 2006 to early 2007, Teng toured extensively in the United States to promote the release of her third album, Dreaming Through the Noise. Teng co-headlined with Duncan Sheik and opened for Madeleine Peyroux. She began the Green Caravan Tour in April 2007, accompanied by cellist Marika Hughes, violinist Dina Maccabee, and percussionist Alex Wong, along with opening acts such as David Berkeley and Jenny Owen Youngs. In 2008, she relocated from California to New York City, and performed in Central Park on Earth Day at the Green Apple Festival.
Study at the University of Michigan
In 2010, Teng announced to her fans that she had been accepted into the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. Through the program, she received an MBA from the Ross School of Business and an MS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment. During this period, Teng moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she continued to perform and compose music, although she did not tour as frequently as she had before enrolling.
Teng's fifth studio album, titled Aims, was released in September 2013. From September to December 2013 Teng went on a tour across the United States and Western Europe to promote the new material. During this tour, she performed as a trio with Alex Wong and Jordan Hamlin, two other musicians who appeared on the album. The album, including various deluxe versions, is available via her official site.
Aims received four awards in the thirteenth annual Independent Music Awards: Adult Contemporary Album, A Cappella Song (for "The Hymn of Acxiom"), Pop Song (for "Level Up"), and Social Action Song (for "Level Up"). This was the first time an artist received four awards in one year.
Cultural influence on music
Teng has also stated live that the lyrics to "Grandmother Song" from Inland Territory are nearly a verbatim translation of a lecture that Teng received from her Mandarin-speaking grandmother, voicing her disapproval of Teng's career choice.
- 2001: Waking Hour – self-produced
- 2002: Waking Hour – Virt Records
- 2004: Warm Strangers – Virt Records
- 2006: Dreaming Through the Noise – Zoë/Rounder
- 2009: Inland Territory – Zoë/Rounder
- 2013: Aims
- Moore, Summer (November–December 2003). "NOTEWORTHY: Changing Her Tune". STANFORD Magazine.
- Topic Galleries – chicagotribune.com
- "Alums". Harmonics Alums. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
- "Vienna Teng – News". 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "Rounder Records – Vienna Teng – Bio". Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "Zoë/Rounder Records Signs Vienna Teng". Retrieved 2006-12-02.[dead link]
- "Album Nominees : 9th Annual Independent Music Awards". Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- viennateng.com "Teng's official website". Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- "The 13th Annual Independent Music Awards Announced". Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- "YouTube - Vienna Teng: Hymn of Acxiom - Virtual Choir Friends". Retrieved 2014-11-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vienna Teng.|
- "Vienna Teng Biography". Virt Records. Archived from the original on March 22, 2006.
- Biography at official website
- Vienna Teng's official YouTube channel
- Vienna Teng's Twitter page
- v1.ViennaTeng.com – Vienna Teng's first website (2000–2004)
- WarmStrangers.com-Unofficial fansite with song anecdotes, a list of unreleased tracks, and a database of live performances.
- Vienna Teng collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Paradigm interview – August 2007 interview with Vienna Teng. Located under "Music."
- Collectedsounds.com – Interview in which Vienna Teng discusses her musical history and influences.
- Vienna Teng interview (September 2007) with asiaXpress.com
- Kaplan, Shari (November 27, 2002). "Saratoga Style: Talented local musician plays at Blue Rock Shoot". Saratoga News (Saratoga, California).