Intimate yet powerful is how musician MinTze Wu presents her storytelling.
An accomplished violinist and leader of the Roaring Fork Valley art scene, Wu has curated several groundbreaking musical productions near and far. And as the incoming new Executive Director of VOICES, she seeks to channel her artistic visions and passions deep into the roots of the Roaring Fork Valley community.
Since moving from Taiwan to Carbondale in 2018, Wu has become a vessel for the valley’s artistic offerings. Her recent appearances include concertmaster of the Aspen Choral Society, curator of the Garden Music Series at Carbondale Arts, and demo musician for a series of performances at True Nature Healing Arts, among others. Wu was also an ensemble performer in VOICES’ Women’s Voices theater project, “Wetlands,” last spring.
Prior to her adventures in the valley, Wu founded the Sounds of Lyons Music Festival and BenFeng Music Productions, where she continues to serve as artistic director of numerous multimedia productions, the latest being a groundbreaking performance of Benjamin Britten’s opera, “The Turn of the Screw” – which Wu will bring to Taiwan in November.
The experienced musician said she was lucky to have all the tools, experiences and expertise to “speak and play like an artist”. Coming to the Roaring Fork Valley, which she described as a welcoming place for an artist, Wu expressed her ability to connect with many artists of her caliber and across disciplines.
“I feel like I’m in a unique position, where I’m an immigrant to the country and a newcomer to the valley,” Wu said. “And with VOICES, I feel like I’m entering into something that is already quite solid and very clear.”
Wu — who will officially step into the role of executive director on Nov. 1 — assumes the leadership role at a pivotal time in the organization’s growth trajectory.
Founded by Renee Prince and Barbara Reese in 2016, VOICES aims to amplify often silenced voices in the Valley by producing community arts projects on live performance platforms and in local schools. After hitting its five-year mark, the nonprofit arts organization has established a legacy of impactful programs, including the Youth Voices Project, the Women’s Voices Project, Voices of Latin America, and a new theater project Queer Voices.
“The goal of VOICES is really to explore the layers within ourselves and within our community,” Wu said. “And it’s this process of using theater, music, visual arts or of any storytelling technique to harvest and craft, then turn it into an artistic experience for the individual and also for the whole.”
Wu praised Prince and Reese for achieving their vision of connecting the community through art in action. With solid programming pillars in place, five years has been a defining moment for VOICES, Wu said. She now sees plenty of room to grow.
Some of Wu’s goals as the new executive director include strengthening the organization’s board of directors in terms of numbers and diversity, as well as growing VOICES’ full-time positions. She said another important thing to her is ensuring the artistic integrity and financial viability of the organization.
“I’m excited to continue this artistic expression and to be able to bring it to the voices we want to discover,” Wu said. that we know who found the platforms.”
The next big VOICES program, launched under Wu’s leadership, is an intergenerational project that aims to connect the voices of senior and youth members of the community through relationship building, storytelling workshops and a final spring performance that will put showcasing the band’s artistic journey, Wu explained.
While developing the 12-week program – which is due to start from February to April – Wu said VOICES planned to work with community initiative Carbondale Age Friendly, as well as the Stepping Stones organization and local schools, to involve communities of elders and youth. in the new VOICES storytelling project.
“I think most of the work in VOICES is storytelling,” Wu said. “And storytelling is really how we communicate with our next generation, it’s how we preserve our culture and it’s something that can be done in so many forms.”
Wu compares the type of storytelling initiated by VOICES to that of his personal musical presentations, describing the two as “small but powerful, intimate but powerful”.
“It’s not big bells and whistles,” Wu said. “But we really go on a very revelatory, very meaningful journey with every group that we bring our attention to.”
For her next musical adventure in the valley, Wu turns her attention to South American culture, music and dance, especially Argentine tango.
As the final Garden Music Series event of the summer – taking place the evenings of September 15 and 16 at the historic Thompson House in Carbondale – Wu hosted a celebratory music and dance performance titled “Let’s Tango!”
In bringing this production to life, Wu said she was inspired by beloved Heather Morrow – who was a world-class tango dancer and instructor in Aspen for more than two decades before her death last year . Morrow’s legacy thrives in the Valley today, as there is a dedicated group of dancers who carry on the tradition of tango, Wu said.
She incorporated these tango dancers, alongside modern and classical ballet performers, in “Let’s Tango!” With a total of five pairs of dancers, Wu explained how each set of partners will bring “their own twist” to the live music ensemble – which is made up of five band members, including Wu on violin.
“We’re just going to unleash – unleash everything,” Wu said. “It’s a whole spectrum of different sounds and moods, different color palettes and different dancing.”