Music

Photograph of me piano conducting a tech run of Rocky Horror (October 2021). (photo: Remy Goldberg)

This page is intended to be a digital curriculum vitae for my musical endeavors, including a comprehensive list of projects, collaborations, performances, etc. in which I’ve been involved! This is how I spend most of my time outside of work/academics, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Any publicly available recordings of my work are linked below. I’ve also taken the liberty of linking collaborators and organizations with whom I’ve worked. Please explore!

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

biography

Ruiran Xun (she/her) is a collaborative pianist and music director based in the Bay Area. She spent her undergraduate career at Carnegie Mellon University studying chemistry and computer science, but was consistently involved in theatre and other musical endeavors outside of academics. Ruiran has previously worked with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera (resident artist pianist, assistant music director) and the CMU School of Music (voice lesson and rehearsal pianist). While at CMU, she was assistant conductor for the CMU All-University Orchestra; music directed three mainstage productions by Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, CMU’s student-led theatre organization; and contributed to many more productions and projects in various capacities (composer, arranger, pianist). She is particularly interested in developing new works as a music director and/or music assistant.

productions and performances

new works

  • 124 Bluestone Road (arranger) @ CMU School of Drama, 05/2022. Wr. Sammie Paul and Nick Grosso.
    Transcribed the iteration of the show performed in 12/2019 at Playground XVII.
  • LIMBO (arranger, music director, pianist) @ CMU School of Drama, 04/2022. Wr. Nick Grosso, dir. Katia Peppas.
    I assembled a piano/vocal score from recorded demos, rehearsed with actors, and performed the show (notably, all in the span of under a week).
  • 69 Love Songs (assc. music director) @ CMU School of Drama, 02/2022. Wr. Wendy Kuhn and Izadorius, mus. dir. Aaron Morrison.
    Assisted in the rehearsal process.
  • The Great Hunger (composer) @ The Tank, 09/2021. Wr. Kallan Dana, dir. Erica Schnitzer.
    Composed songs for an original play.
  • Behind Closed Doors (composer, audio editor) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 10/2020.
    Composed a piece (for which Katherine Cole Sabel wrote the lyrics) and contributed to audio editing for a show featuring original work by Scotch’n’Soda student members.
  • This Side Up (pianist) @ CMU School of Music, 02/2020. Wr. Matthew Zwiebel.
    Played piano for a staged reading of one of Matt’s original musicals.
  • Birds & Beansprouts (pianist) @ CMU School of Drama, 12/2019. Wr. Joe Young, dir. Emma Cordray, mus. dir. Joshua Gregg Fried.
    Performed at Playground XVII, a festival of independent student work.
  • Virgula Divina (music director, conductor, pianist) @ Pittsburgh Festival Opera, 07/2019. Comp. Karen Brown, libr. Jessica Lanay, dir. Rose Freeman, co-mus. dir. Robert Frankenberry.
    Excerpts from the new opera performed as part of the Fight for the Right series of original work mounted at the Pittsburgh Festival Opera.
  • Night Flight of Minerva’s Owl (music director, pianist) @ Pittsburgh Festival Opera, 07/2019. Dir. Rose Freeman, co-mus. dir. Robert Frankenberry.
    Scene from the new opera also performed as part of Fight for the Right.
  • Mister Rogers’ Operas (asst. music director, pianist) @ Pittsburgh Festival Opera, 07/2019. Dir. Tomé Cousin; mus. dir., arr. Robert Frankenberry.
    Supported the development of a new show based upon two opera episodes written and composed by Fred Rogers.
  • High School Choosical (pianist) @ New Works Coffeehouse, 05/2019. Comp. Joshua Gregg Fried, wr. Katherine Cole Sabel.
    Played piano in a short original musical featuring choose-your-own-adventure audience interaction.

opera

musical theatre

  • Preludes (pit keyboardist) @ CMU School of Drama, 04/2022. Dir. Moses Garcia, mus. dir. Matthew Zwiebel.
  • RENT (music director) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 04/2022.
  • The Rocky Horror Show (music director) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 10/2021.
  • Little Shop of Horrors (pianist, audio editor) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 04/2021.
  • The Light in the Piazza (rehearsal pianist) @ CMU School of Music, 01/2020. Dir. Seamus Ricci, cond. Christopher Larkin.
  • Catch Me If You Can (pianist) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 10/2019.
  • MAMMA MIA! (music director, pianist) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 04/2019.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (rehearsal pianist, pit percussionist) @ Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, 10/2018.
  • Mary Poppins (pianist) @ TJ Theater Arts, 02/2018.

cabarets

  • Matt Zwiebel’s Musical Theatre Cabaret (05/2022).
    Played piano in a cabaret featuring 14 of Matt’s original musical theatre songs.
  • Everything In Its Time: A Musical Cabaret (02/2022).
    Played piano in a cabaret featuring a variety of musical theatre selections, taking the place of Joshua Gregg Fried’s senior recital.
  • 12th Annual Benefit Cabaret (10/2019).
    Played violin for a Scotch’n’Soda cabaret benefitting the Alumni Theater Company.
  • Miscast Cabaret (05/2019).
    Played piano in a Scotch’n’Soda cabaret where actors performed songs for roles they typically wouldn’t be cast in.
  • 11th Annual Benefit Cabaret (10/2018).
    Played piano for a Scotch’n’Soda cabaret benefitting the Alumni Theater Company.

concerts

miscellaneous

work experience

  • Scotch’n’Soda Theatre (vice president), 05/2021 – 05/2022, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Served as VP on the Board during my senior year, overseeing mainstage productions and managing a variety of administrative tasks throughout the year.
  • CMU All-University Orchestra (assistant conductor), 05/2021 – 04/2022, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Stepped in for some rehearsals on behalf of the conductor, conducted the Chamber Orchestra in two concerts, and also assisted with routine logistical operations as a member of the Board.
  • Scotch’n’Soda Theatre (secretary), 05/2019 – 05/2020, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Served as secretary on the Board of Directors during my sophomore year, overseeing mainstage productions and writing a weekly update email to the organization.
  • CMU School of Music (accompanist), 09/2018 – 03/2020, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Played piano for first- and second-year voice students’ lessons, and worked as a rehearsal pianist for a few of the departments’ opera productions.
  • Pittsburgh Opera (mobile app operator), 10/2019, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Ran cues for curated content provided through the Pittsburgh Opera Mobile App during the company’s run of “Don Giovanni”.
  • Pittsburgh Festival Opera (resident artist pianist), 06/2019 – 07/2019, Pittsburgh, PA.
    Worked on multiple productions, as well as played piano for coachings, recitals, and cabarets in the Young Professional Artists Program.

education

Carnegie Mellon University, 08/2018 – 05/2022, Pittsburgh, PA. Earned dual B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Computer Science with a minor in Collaborative Piano. (More information on how that happened here if you’re curious!)

skills I have

instruments

  • piano (15+ years)
  • violin (10+ years)
  • mallet percussion (2 years in high school, primarily marimba)
  • voice (3+ years, caveat: I have no formal training in vocal pedagogy but I’ve accrued a good amount of working knowledge over the years)

software

  • MainStage 3
  • Dorico Pro 3.5
  • Logic Pro
  • GarageBand
  • Audacity

other

  • Music direction
    c.f. “Productions and Performances” section above
  • Sightreading
    high proficiency; I’ll happily sightread anything
  • Conducting
    1 year of coursework, plus practical experience working with the CMU All-University Orchestra and conducting pits for shows I music direct
  • Arranging and transcription
    I’ve learned that I can transcribe by ear very quickly
  • Absolute pitch
    I suppose this one technically is not a learned skill…

skills I would like to acquire

  • A more formalized knowledge of vocal technique, both in classical and contemporary contexts! Everything I currently know is secondhand from being in rehearsal rooms with people far more experienced than me.
  • A working knowledge of orchestration so that I can better assist in developing new musicals.
  • An understanding of sound engineering beyond the working knowledge I’ve picked up while music directing!

references

References available upon request.


(The formatting of this page is somewhat inspired by Dave Malloy, who also happens to be one of my biggest musical inspirations.)