From her website, wonderfully named itsnotaviolin.com:
Classically-trained violist Christen Lien performs original compositions on viola that are a beautiful and dark fusion of East and West musical traditions, with classical and postmodern influences, and acoustic and electronic sounds. Using guitar effect processors and multiple looping pedals as her tools, Lien performs dynamic and emotive concerts as she constructs compositions layer by layer for her audiences, creating hybrid music and expressive performance art.
Lien’s debut album is called Vol. I: Battle Cry and is a musical study of man’s understanding of and relationship to Power – not the kind we acquire, but the kind we are born with and must step into by our own will and determination. She is currently recording her second album in Los Angeles, California.
Christen Lien began her studies of the viola at age 8, and was trained in the Suzuki method. In her youth she was an understudy of The Cleveland Orchestra (COYO), and was a member of the National Youth Guild Symphony Orchestra, which showcased the United States’ leading young musicians at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Other notable concert halls and venues where Lien has performed include Severance Hall, the REDCAT Theater of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, and the Vieve Gore Concert Hall. She has also performed at major contemporary venues in North America and Mexico including Zanzibar, The Vanguard, Café Central and the House of Blues, as well as state-of-the-art science centers and at numerous universities. The diversity of her venues and fan demographic is evidence of Christen Lien’s category-defying sonic exploration of music.
Christen’s experience also spreads beyond music, to the literary and film world. After college where she studied Literature and Communications, Lien worked with John Cusack’s production company, New Crime Productions, where she learned valuable organizational skills that led to a transformational role in rebirthing the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF). Under Christen’s leadership as Executive Director of the AAFF,Variety magazine named the AAFF one of the top ten film festivals in the world, openly impressed by the internationally-storied First Amendment lawsuit she launched against the government (see Ann Arbor Film Festival v. The State of Michigan). Determined to protect artists’ rights to free speech and uncensored creativity, Lien stood up against government censorship, won the historic lawsuit and transformed laws granting access to funding for artists worldwide.
Today she dedicates her time to her music, in constant pursuit of her own creative voice and passions, and trains diligently in the martial arts [specifically in Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee's mixed martial art), Kali/Escrima/Arnis (Filippino weaponry), Buka Jalan Silat, and Western Boxing]. Lien’s goal is to foray into new musical territory with compositions that bridge the electronic, industrial and classical genres, while redefining how the world understands and experiences the viola as an instrument. Always studying the human condition as the inspiration behind her content and perpetually working to create new and successful business models for independent artists, Christen Lien provides audiences with passionate live performances of original music that have been called “uncannily ancient and reassuringly contemporary,” and “a bridge to the divine.”
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