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Joan La Barbara

New York, NY   

Joan La Barbara, composer, performer, sound artist and actor is renowned for developing a unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques (multiphonics, circular singing, ululation, and glottal clicks, her “signature sounds”) influencing generations of other composers and singers.  Awards, prizes and Fellowships: Foundation for Contemporary Arts John Cage Award (2016); Premio Internazionale Demetrio Stratos; DAAD-Berlin Artist-in-Residency; Civitella Ranieri, Guggenheim and 7 National Endowment for the Arts (Music Composition, Opera/Music Theater, Inter-Arts, Recording, Solo Recital, Visual Arts), and numerous commissions. Her multi-layered textural compositions (for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, theater, orchestra, interactive technology, soundscores for dance, video and film) were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, MaerzMusik Berlin, and Lincoln Center.  She has collaborated with visual artists Matthew Barney, Judy Chicago, Ed Emshwiller, Kenneth Goldsmith, Bruce Nauman, Steina, Woody Vasulka, and Lawrence Weiner, and has premiered landmark compositions by noted American composers, including Morton Subotnick’s chamber opera Jacob’s Room, his Hungers, and Intimate Immensity; the title role in Robert Ashley’s opera Now Eleanor’s Idea and Dust; Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach; Morton Feldman’s Three Voices; Steve Reich’s Drumming; and John Cage’s Eight Whiskus and his Solo for Voice 45 from Song Books. In addition to her internationally acclaimed discs of Feldman and Cage (New Albion), her seminal works from 1970s Voice is the Original Instrument and Sound Paintings (Lovely Music) and Shaman-Song (New World), she has recorded for A&M Horizon, Centaur, Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, Mode, Music & Arts, MusicMasters, Musical Heritage, Newport Classic, Sony, Virgin, Voyager, and Wergo.  Exploring ways of immersing the audience in her music, La Barbara’s Journeys and Observable Events, allowed the audience to unveil theatrical and sonic events, and she placed American Composers Orchestra around and among the audience in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, building her sound painting “in solitude this fear is lived”, inspired by Agnes Martin’s minimalist drawings.  Artistic Director of the multi-year Carnegie Hall series “When Morty Met John”, co-founder of composers-collective Ne(x)tworks,La Barbara serves on the composition faculty at New York University. She is composing a new opera exploring the artistic process, interior dialogue, and sounds within the mind. Website: www.joanlabarbara.com.

“Angels, Demons and other Muses”

Edited excerpt from Joan La Barbara’s work “Angels, Demons and other Muses”, performed live at Roulette/Location One with Ne(x)tworks. I placed the musicians within the audience to provide an immersive experience.

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