Asian American Arts Alliance

34th Anniversary Gala

The Alliance's 34th Anniversary Gala! 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses Street, NYC


Cocktails | Dinner | Performances

Buy tickets for the 34th Anniversary Gala here!

This year's honorees are:

Ms. Hei-Kyung Hong, world-renowned opera soprano

Basement Workshop (1970-1986), groundbreaking New York Asian American arts organization


Diana Oh, Van Lier Acting Fellow

Seonjae Kim, Van Lier Directing Fellow

Jesse Obremski, Jadin Wong Dance Awardee

Sarah Gambito & Joseph Legaspi, Wai Look Awardees


Ariel Estrada, actor, singer, producer, founder of Leviathan Lab

Performances by

Telly Leung, Broadway actor of shows such as Pacific Overtures & Allegiance

Hyesang Park, opera soprano

2016 Benefit Committee

So-Chung Shinn, Co-Chair
Rocky Chin & May Chen, Co-Chairs
Karen Beluso
Amy Hau
Fay Ann Lee 
Lily Lu & Jordan Young
Ron Ostermann
Hong Qu
Ravi Rajan & Lucy Yates
Athena Robles & G. Richard Dodge, Jr.
Mark Swicegood
Helen Wan
Joyce Yu & Edward Lai
Cindy Zhou

Funds raised from this event support the Alliance’s programs and services, which offers artists opportunities to be their own best entrepreneurs across the spectrum of their careers—helping them to build audiences, seek funding, and grow their own artistic and strategic alliances.

Honoree Bios

The beautiful Korean-American soprano Hei-Kyung Hong is at the height of a career that has taken her to many of the world’s operatic capitals in an enormous variety of roles, ranging from baroque to contemporary works. Following a remarkably successful debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1984 as Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, conducted by James Levine, Ms. Hong has gone on to sing over 350 performances at the Met in an artistic relationship spanning 30 years and counting. She has sung in all of the most renowned theaters in North America; European theaters have also received Ms. Hong with rare enthusiasm. Hei-Kyung Hong’s engagements of the upcoming 2016-2017 season will include her performance at the Met as Mimì in La Bohème.

A native of Seoul, Korea, Hei-Kyung Hong is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and its American Opera Center. A winner of the 1982 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, her awards and honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, a career grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and Washington National Opera’s Artist of the Year for her acclaimed performances of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin. Her stature transcends the world of classical music: in 1991 she received the Governor’s Asian-American Heritage Month Award from then-Governor Mario Cuomo of New York, in recognition of her exemplary dedication to the highest personal, professional, and community values and standards of excellence; and in 2007 the Blanton-Peale Institute presented her with the Norman Vincent Peale Award for Positive Thinking, given to those who clearly and inspirationally exemplify the power of thinking positively, with faith, deep caring for people, and dedicated commitment to improving our world. Ms. Hong resides with her family in New York.

Basement Workshop (1970-1986) was a seminal Asian American arts and cultural organization based in New York City. Founded in 1970, the collective formed when a group of young artists and urban planners came together in a basement on Elizabeth Street in New York’s Chinatown. These trailblazing students, artists, and community activists came of age in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and post-1965 immigration reform. As Fay Chiang, former Executive Director, described: “A lot of us were involved with the anti-war movement and student activism on the campuses, and the push for Asian American studies, especially at City College, Hunter, Queens, and Lehman Colleges, and also Columbia. So a lot of us had known each other or have heard of one another through the Asian American anti-war movement. A lot of us were also involved for the first time with other Asian Americans in that struggle.” Basement Workshop became a key group in the Asian American movement across the country, bringing to light the unique identity, community, and culture of Asian America.

Basement Workshop began with projects such as the Asian American Resource Center, which compiled information on Asian American communities; the (now defunct) nationally-circulated Bridge magazine; and the pioneering art publication Yellow Pearl; and continued to organize publications, literary events, performances, exhibitions, and after-school programs for years to come. The organization also served as an umbrella for Asian American artists’ projects, as well as for groups like Chinatown Health Fair, Asian American Resource Center, and the Amerasia Creative Arts Program. Basement Workshop closed its doors in 1986, but its legacy continues through the thriving existence of Asian American arts and culture organizations such as the Asian American Arts Centre, Asian Cinevision, Museum of Chinese in America, and the Asian American Arts Alliance.  

Featured Bios

2016 Van Lier Acting Fellow Diana Oh is an actor, singer/songwriter, and theatremaker. She is the creator and performer of {my lingerie play}, a series of performance installations staged in an effort to provide a saner, safer, more respectful world for women to live in, which has been featured on stage at Joe’s Pub, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Lark, and All For One and in the media at, the Huffington Post, Marie Claire (Netherlands). She is also the creator of Diana Oh is GOING ROGUE (terraNOVA Collective, soloNOVA), Hot Sauce Water, and Asian People are Not Magicians. She has been featured as one of Refinery 29’s Top 14 LGBTQ Influencers, the first Queer Korean-American interviewed on Korean Broadcast Radio, a featured playwright at the Lark, a Radical Diva finalist, an Elphaba Thropp fellow, and a New York Theatre Now Person of the Year. She acts on stage and film throughout NYC and thanks her badass community.

2016 Van Lier Directing Fellow Seonjae "Jae" Kim (BA: Northwestern University) is a theater artist based in New York City, originally from Seoul, South Korea. She is currently developing Riot Antigone, a new riot grrrl musical adaptation of the Greek tragedy, in collaboration with the composer Erato A. Kremmyda. Her select directing credits include: The Essential Ella Maythorne (Dixon Place), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rabid Bat Theatricals), Cloud Nine, A Perfect Wedding, Kafka on the Shore (Northwestern University), Moksori (Chicago Fringe Festival). Jae is the Programs Liaison at CultureHub, a center for art and technology co-founded by La MaMa ETC and Seoul Institute of the Arts in Seoul, South Korea. She has assisted at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Ensemble Studio Theatre, among others, and has participated in Directors' Lab West 2016.


Jesse Obremski, a native New Yorker, has been described by DanceTabs as one who dances “with fluent simplicity” and “quiet understanding.” He started training at the Ailey School and later at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. In 2016, Jesse graduated from the Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes, where he earned his BFA in dance. Jesse, a Father Fame Awardee (2012) and Eagle Scout rank (2010) recipient, has also attended Springboard Danse Montreal, Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, and Jacob's Pillow. He has performed works by renowned choreographers such as Kyle Abraham, Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Madboots, Brian Brooks, Nacho Duato, Sharon Eyal, Martha Graham (principle role), José Limón (soloist role), Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, and Paul Taylor (principle role). Jesse has performed with the Kate Weare Company, Zest Collective, Diversity of Dance Inc., and is currently a company member with DaretoCreate Dance Theatre (2013-present),  Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (2015-present), and Buglisi Dance Theatre (2016-present). Jesse will also be joining the Limón Dance Company in August, 2016.


Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Delivered (Persea Books) and Matadora (Alice James Books). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, The Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, Field, Quarterly West, Fence, and other journals. She holds degrees from University of Virginia and the Literary Arts Program at Brown University. Her honors include the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers and grants and fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, Urban Artists Initiative, and MacDowell Colony.  She is Associate Professor of English / Director of Creative Writing at Fordham University and co-founder of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization serving Asian American writers.

Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of the poetry collections Threshold (forthcoming in 2017 from CavanKerry Press) and Imago (University of Santo Tomas [Philippines] and CavanKerry Press [US]), and two chapbooks: Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts), winner of the Blair Prize, and Subways (Thrush Press).  His works have appeared in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, New England Review, jubilat, Orion, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the anthologies Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton) and Coming Close (Prairie Lights/University of Iowa Press), among others.  He is a recipient of fellowships and awards from the Fulbright Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Filipino Global Literary Awards, Writers Omi/Ledig House, and the Filipino-American National Historical Society. He co-founded and currently serves on the board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization serving Asian American writers.


Emcee Bio

Ariel Estrada is an actor, singer, producer, and founder/executive board member of Leviathan Lab, a creative studio for Asian American performing artists. As the immediate past Producing Artistic Director of Leviathan Lab, he has produced acting and writing salons, cabarets, fundraising events, staged readings, showcase productions, and short films—including a critically acclaimed 2011 production of Twelfth Night, starring Obie-award winning actor Jojo Gonzalez, and the multiple-award winning short films Two Weeks and Yield. As an actor and singer, Ariel has performed on television, film, commercials, industrials, and new media, as well as appearing on-, off-, and off-off Broadway and regionally, including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Prospect Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Pan Asian Repertory, and Letter of Marque. He has appeared in the award-winning, Sundance-nominated film Don’t Let Me Drown. Ariel will star in the upcoming feature Title VII, which was recently selected as featured film in this month’s Urbanworld Film Festival: Clips & Conversations Series in NYC.


Performer Bios

Telly Leung: Broadway credits: Sammy in Allegiance  starring opposite Lea Salonga & George Takei, Godspell, Flower Drum Song, Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, and the final company of Rent. He originated the role of Boq in the Chicago company of Wicked. Selected other credits: Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (The Shakespeare Theater, DC), Song in M. Butterfly (Philadelphia Theater Company), Angel in Rent at The Hollywood Bowl (directed by Neil Patrick Harris), Godspell (Paper Mill), Bernstein: Mass (Baltimore Symphony / Kennedy Center / Carnegie Hall), Give It Up!;a.k.a. Lysistrata Jones ;(Dallas Theater Center), Barnaby in Hello Dolly! (The Muny), Simon in Jesus Christ Superstar (Sacramento Music Circus), Thuy in Miss Saigon (PCLO) and Lun Tha in The King & I with Lou Diamond Philips (North Carolina Theater). Recordings:Many original Broadway cast recordings, as well as two solo albums on the Yellow Sound Label - I'll Cover You (2012) and Songs for You (2016). Film /TV: Glee (Wes, Dalton Academy Warblers), Odd Mom Out (Bravo), Deadbeat (Hulu), Law & Order: Criminal Intent, PBS' documentary Broadway or Bust, Rent: Filmed Live On Broadway. BFA: Carnegie Mellon University. For more info visit Twitter: @tellyleung

Hyesang Park is a born performer. The South Korean lyric coloratura established herself as an artist to watch with her New York debut in November 2014, as the flirtatious Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia at the Juilliard School. Park sparkled with the authority of a veteran comedienne, despite her relative lack of stage experience. Fiorilla’s Act I cavatina, “Non si dà follia maggiore,” was delivered with a knockout combination of charm, self-assurance and biting wit. OPERA NEWS’s David J. Baker wrote that Park’s “solid, refined fioritura delivery was matched by glamour, temperament and, above all, an ability to put bel canto splendor to expressive use.” 

Park’s fearless performing style has won her prizes in the Opera Index Competition in New York and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. In June 2015, she took home second prize plus the Radio-Canada People’s Choice Award in the Montreal International Music Competition. The following month, Park competed in champion style at Operalia, winning second prize in the general competition with her fluid performance of the mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor — and looking completely at home on the stage of Covent Garden. She also scored top honors in the Operalia zarzuela competition for her neatly turned comic delivery of “No sé qué siento aquí,” a tipsy waltz from Caballero’s Cháteau Margaux.

Still only twenty-six, Park returns this season to Juilliard, where she will continue her training as part of the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program.


© 2017   Created by a4 - Network Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service