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Natacha Diels

San Diego, CA         

Natacha Diels’ work combines ritual, improvisation, traditional instrumental practice, and cynical play to create worlds of curiosity and unease. Recent work includes the completion of a series of fairytales/nightmares for performers, and the construction of a Portal with her performance duo On Structure.

Natacha founded the experimental music collective Ensemble Pamplemousse in 2003, and continues to be its director and flautist. In 2009 she co-founded the performance duo On Structure with Jessie Marino. Pamplemousse specializes in unique aspects of composition and new music, from complex virtuosic instrumental performance to experimental theatre to electronic and robotic performance. Inexorably uncompromising, the group has developed its name by presenting exquisitely challenging music at both internationally recognized festivals such as Borealis Festival (Norway) and Transparent Sound Festival (Budapest), and lesser-known gems such as Louisville’s Experimental Music Festival (KY). On Structure is a sound-centric highly choreographed paradoxically improvisatory collaboration project, performing whenever travel paths collide. In 2016, On Structure was featured at SPOR Festival (DK) and Omaha Under the Radar (Nebraska).

With a focus on choreographed movement, traditional instrumental technique, and a wide array of DIY electronics, Natacha’s compositions have been described as “a fairy tale for a fractured world” (Music We Care About) and “fantastic playful modern chamber music full of magic and wit” (Vital Weekly). As composer, she has been featured at international festivals such as Darmstadt International Summer Institute (DE), SPOR Festival (DK), Borealis Festival (NO), Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center (NYC), Maerz Musik (DE), Sweet Thunder (SF), and MATA Festival (NYC), among others. She has written works for Ensemble Pamplemousse, TAK Ensemble, JACK quartet, Ensemble Adapter, ICE, Talea Ensemble, Dal Niente Ensemble, Anne LaBerge and Diamanda Dramm; and soloists Maria Stankova, Ross Karre, and Heather Roche. Her music been performed by ensembles worldwide such as Mocrep, Plus/Minus, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, and Sonar Quartet.

As flautist, Natacha’s performance has been likened to “an insane, barking bird who can’t find his way out of his own birdcage” (The Sound Projector).

Natacha has taught courses in electronic and computer music at Columbia University and Parson’s School of Design; and has conducted numerous workshops or lectures in composition and computer music at schools such as the School at the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, Wesleyan University, and University of Southern California. A devoted teacher of all ages, Natacha has also designed and taught workshops to children at the Montessori School of Raleigh, the Upper Catskill Community Center for the Arts, and a summer music camp in Léogane, Haiti. She holds degrees in flute performance and integrated digital media from NYU, in music composition from Columbia University, and currently teaches composition and computer music at the University of California, San Diego.

Wee Robot

For 4 Disklaviers and electronics, 2014.
From the program note :
I’m a machine but I didn’t
come with an instruction manual or a
label on me
I still don’t know what my purpose is.
What was I made for?
I’m a Cyborg but that’s OK.

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This is a piece I created using audio and video material from works I’ve written over the last three years. The piece also exists as a solo performance, and was written in 2016 for the online publication The Experimental Music Yearbook.

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2.5 Nightmares for Jessie

This is the second in a series of ‘nightmares’ written for chamber ensemble between 2012 and 2016. It was written for Jessie Marino, Dave Broome, and myself of Pamplemousse, in 2015.
Throughout this series I have exploded the minute gestures executed by performers through choreography, repetition, and counterpoint. Each nightmare also describes a narrative, unique to each ensemble for which the nightmare was composed.

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