Call For Singers: Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom

Person standing in front of another person signing

Lee Mingwei: Sonic Blossom, 2013 | 2015. Performance view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Jump to

Lee Mingwei and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco invite Bay Area opera singers to an open-call audition to be part of Sonic Blossom, a performance-based art installation.

This ongoing participatory performance is part of Lee Mingwei’s upcoming exhibition Lee Mingwei: Rituals of Care opening at the de Young on Saturday, February 17, 2024. 

The idea for Sonic Blossom came to Lee Mingwei while caring for his mother while she was in the hospital. Lee would play Schubert’s Lieder (songs) for his mother while she healed, just as she had done for him when he was a child, coming full circle in caring for each other across different life stages. Sonic Blossom captures the heart of unconditional care by having singers offer a gift of song to museum guests who accept the interaction.

Auditions will be held at the Legion of Honor inside the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Theater on Thursday, October 12, 2023, from 10 am to 5 pm.

Selected singers will be compensated $75/hr. 

How to sign up for an audition slot

To audition for the role, you will need to do all of the following in order:

  1. Read through the audition instructions and program information before you decide to sign up.
  2. If you would like to move forward with the audition, please fill out this form to register your interest in a 10-minute audition time slot.
  3. Prepare to select (1) song from the repertoire below, and (1) song of your choice. 
  4. To confirm your interest, please send the PDF of your audition pieces in the key you will sing by email to within five days of submitting the form. Please note that if we do not receive your audition pieces, we will not consider you for an audition. Once we receive your interest form and pieces, we will reach out to you by email to confirm your time slot.
  5. Please be prepared to arrive at the Legion of Honor at least 45 minutes before your audition time. More information about the audition day schedule and important reminders will be sent to confirmed audition participants via email. 

Audition instructions

Please prepare to present at least one of the following five Schubert Lieder, along with a separate song of your choosing:

  • Du bist die Ruh, D. 776 “You are Peace, the Mild Peace”
  • An den Mond, D. 193 “To The Moon”
  • Frühlingsglaube, D. 686 “Spring Faith”
  • Nacht und Träume, D. 827 “Night and Dream”
  • Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D. 774 “In the Middle of the Shimmer of the Reflecting Waves”

Selections do not have to be memorized for the audition, but please do bring sheet music for the additional song you have chosen.

Headshots and resumes are not required to audition, but you may share them in advance or bring them with you if you prefer.

Program performance schedule

Selected singers will perform the five Schubert songs from memory during the run of the exhibition at the de Young. Selected singers must be available for shifts during the duration of the project from February 17 to June 30, 2024. Shifts will be three hours long and might include weekdays and/or weekends depending on singers’ availability. Shift schedules will be coordinated with selected singers and project manager. 

  • February 17 (1 day – opening weekend)
  • February 22 – 25 (4 days)
  • March 14 – 17 (4 days)
  • April 25 – 28 (4 days)
  • May 16 – 19 (4 days) 
  • June 27 – 30 (4 days)

Sonic Blossom involves singers in a designed costume approaching a visitor within the museum galleries to offer a gift of song — the singer’s choice of one of Franz Schubert’s Lieder, accompanied by a piano recording. Inspired by the fact that both Mingwei and his mother found solace in listening to Schubert’s Lieder, the project takes the form of “gift-giving” of song to invite a moment of catharsis, joy, and connection. 

Sonic Blossom has toured in Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Boston, Taipei, New York, Sydney, Auckland, Frankfurt, Singapore, Washington DC, Paris, Jakarta, Cleveland, Berlin, Metz, Munich, and Helsinki, and was selected as “The Best Classical Music of 2015” and “The Best in Art of 2015” in the New York Times for its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more information about Lee Mingwei, including project details and photos, visit

About the artists

Lee Mingwei, born in Taiwan in 1964 and currently living in Paris and New York City, creates participatory installations, where strangers can explore issues of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness, and one-on-one events, in which visitors contemplate these issues with the artist. Lee’s projects are often open-ended scenarios for everyday interaction and take on different forms with the involvement of participants and change during the course of an exhibition. Lee received an MFA from Yale University in 1997 and has held solo exhibitions internationally, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Mori Art Museum, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, and Tate Modern. He has been featured in biennials in Venice, Lyon, Liverpool, Taipei, Sydney, Whitney, and Asia Pacific Triennials.

Jonathan Dimmock, Legion of Honor principal organist, is well known internationally as a recitalist, accompanist, ensemble musician, nonprofit founder, and writer. A graduate of Oberlin and Yale, he was the first American to hold the prestigious position of Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey. He has also served three American cathedrals: St. John the Divine in New York, St. Mark’s in Minneapolis, and Grace in San Francisco. Currently, Jonathan lives in San Francisco where he is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, director of music at Congregation Sherith Israel, director of music at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, recording artist, accompanist, and concert artist. He is cofounder of the highly acclaimed American Bach Soloists, founding director of Artists’ Vocal Ensemble, and founder and president of the Resonance Project that uses music in international conflict resolution. He is one of the few organists in the world to tour on six continents.

Contact info

Public Programs

More events