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Semay Wu (sē mā wo͞o) is a composer, cellist, media/sound artist and improviser. Her influences are drawn from electro-acoustic experiments and improvisations in sound and visual worlds, that in turn reflect human traits, energies, somatics and provocations. Using time, memory and space as a measure, Semay’s work sits in between disciplines and observes the curious contrasts and sensory disturbances that materialise.
Her pieces enjoy affiliations with devised theatre, dance, moving-image, installations and performance; and her own playing is as diverse, touching upon elements of classical avante-garde, to song-structured melodies, to noise improvisations. Current muses focus heavily on explorative drawing, a tie to the graphic score, as a vehicle to explore and encourage ‘play’ and performativity through a multi-perspective and improvisatory framework.
Semay developed her sound at the heart of Manchester’s musical communities (1996+) whilst training at the Royal Northern College of Music (with Jenny Curtis and Clive Greensmith). She further trained at the Institute of Sonology and STEIM in The Netherlands (2013-16) to focus more on electronics, placing attention on sonic and gestural languages. Her current projects combine DIY electronics, sensor technology, live-capture/fixed visuals, and programming through MaxMSP software.
The sabbatical year (2013-14) in The Netherlands was generously enabled by Katherine McGillivray’s Get a Life Fund. Semay sincerely acknowledges their support in catalysing and furthering her last five years of creative development that has been fundamental to her work today.
Semay also initiated a discussion series based in The Hague in 2016, re-balancing conversations around gender, equality and diversity within electronic music and sound art. New Emergences is a non-profit organisation since 2018.