Vienna Teng

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Vienna Tang)
Jump to: navigation, search
Vienna Teng
Vienna Teng5 - Joe's Pub NYC 4-7-07 Photo by Anthony Pepitone.jpg
Background information
Birth name Cynthia Yih Shih[1][2]
(Chinese: ; pinyin: Shǐ Yìxīn)
Born (1978-10-03) October 3, 1978 (age 38)
Saratoga, California, U.S.
Genres Folk, pop, indie folk, chamber pop
Occupation(s) Singer-Songwriter
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar
Years active 2002–present
Labels Virt, Rounder

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.

Teng's musical style incorporates folk, pop, classical piano, and a cappella. She uses piano as her primary instrument and writes lyrics with emotion, narrative, and personal history.

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

A native of Saratoga, California, she began playing classical piano at age 5. She was salutatorian at Saratoga High School. In 1996, whilst pursuing a degree in computer science at Stanford University, Teng joined the Stanford Harmonics, a student-run a cappella group.[3] 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[edit]

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 bestseller list; her second album, Warm Strangers, reached as high as #2.[4][5] In 2006, Teng signed with Zoë/Rounder.[6]

Dreaming Through the Noise[edit]

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.

Inland Territory[edit]

Her fourth album, Inland Territory, won the ninth annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album.[7]

Study at the University of Michigan[edit]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Cover versions[edit]

In summer 2014, Drum Corps International performing ensembles the Bluecoats and the Oregon Crusaders used Aims track "The Hymn of Acxiom" in their respective productions.[10]

In November 2014, the Virtual Choir Friends group released a virtual choir performance of the song, featuring 58 singers from 12 countries.[11]

Cultural influence on music[edit]

Although nearly all of Teng's recordings are in English, Warm Strangers features a hidden cover of "Green Island Serenade", a 1950s Taiwanese classic performed in Mandarin Chinese.

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.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Moore, Summer (November–December 2003). "NOTEWORTHY: Changing Her Tune". STANFORD Magazine. 
  2. ^ Topic Galleries –
  3. ^ "Alums". Harmonics Alums. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Vienna Teng – News". 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  5. ^ "Rounder Records – Vienna Teng – Bio". Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  6. ^ "Zoë/Rounder Records Signs Vienna Teng". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  7. ^ "Album Nominees : 9th Annual Independent Music Awards". Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Teng's official website" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  9. ^ "The 13th Annual Independent Music Awards Announced". Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  10. ^ "Composer Search Results Teng, Vienna". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ "YouTube - Vienna Teng: Hymn of Acxiom - Virtual Choir Friends". Retrieved 2014-11-09. 
  12. ^ "The Rebirth of Vienna Teng: Her Aims Is True, Too". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "The Fourth Messenger". The Fourth Messenger. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 

External links[edit]