With multi-media compositions infused with clear narratives, immersive soundscapes, and emotional vulnerability, Helen He (they/them) shares their perspective of the world from an intersection of minorities. Originally a pianist, vocalist, and chorister, they composed piano and choral music as a hobby since 8. Ten years later, Helen started incorporating electronics into their compositions when they were first introduced to electronic music at Oberlin Conservatory. Since then, they have used music technology as a tool for healing, bonding, and collective growth.
Growing up with a severe speech impediment, Helen bases their artistic practice on the urgency to reclaim their voice as well as the voices of other underrepresented communities. Their composition Pulse, a tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, received its US premiere in November 2016, its Europe premiere in March 2018 at FESTIVAL 5 GIORNATE in Milan, Italy, and its Latin America premiere at the MUSLAB festival in Mexico City in October 2018. Their more recent composition Dear His Mom, which discusses the phenomena of victim-blaming in incidents of sexual harassment and assault, received its European premiere in September 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine, and its US premiere in November 2017.
Helen obtained a B.A. in Computer Science and a B.M. in Technology in Music and Related Arts at Oberlin College and Conservatory, with a minor in dance and secondary studies in Organ Performance. A classically-trained vocalist and pianist, Helen enjoys premiering new works by other composers but also pursues their interest in historical performance by singing music from pre-1600 to 2019 in Collegium Musicum Oberliniese, Oberlin's early music choir. They are also an avid researcher in the field of computer science. They received an XARTS grant for their research in music and machine learning in 2018; and their paper, "Privacy and Activism in the Transgender Community" was accepted into the proceedings of The ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI).