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Sam Pluta

New York, NY   

Sam Pluta is a New York City-based composer, improviser, and sound artist. Known internationally for his laptop performances with groups like Rocket Science, Wet Ink Ensemble, and The Peter Evans Quintet, he has performed as a laptop soloist and chamber musician at the Lucerne Festival, the Donaueschingen Festival, the Moers Festival, Bimhaus, Porgy and Bess, EMPAC, and the Vortex, amongst other international concert venues and festivals. As a composer, he has been commissioned and premiered by Mivos Quartet, Yarn/Wire, ICE, Timetable Percussion, RIOT Trio, Dave Eggar, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Prism Saxophone Quartet. Recently he and Jeff Snyder completed and performed a large-scale work for International Contemporary Ensemble and exclusiveOr entitled MODULES. Upcoming projects include a new work for TAK Ensemble, a new large-scale composition for Yarn/Wire, and solo works for Dana Jessen and Anne La Berge. 

Sam is Technical Director for Wet Ink Ensemble, a new music group dedicated to promoting music by young composers. A devoted pedagogue, he directs the Electronic Music Studio at Manhattan School of Music, teaches at the Computer Music Center at Columbia University, and is Academic Dean and Director of Electronic Music at the Walden School, a summer music program for young creative musicians. Sam’s music is released on quiet design and Carrier Records, a record label he runs with Jeff Snyder and David Franzson, and his performances can also be found on More Is More, Tzadik, and hat[now]ART. Sam holds a Doctorate in Music Composition from Columbia University and additional degrees from UT Austin, the University of Birmingham (UK), and Santa Clara University.

Chain Reactions/Five Events

Chain Reactions/Five Events was commissioned by Mivos Quartet and the Lucerne Festival. This piece, in two large sections, combines a string quartet with live electronics. The first half of the work uses an semi-notated system which implies a kind of inevitable sound world. The second half is fully notated and also independent work. Electronics are performed by the composer throughout.

Mivos Quartet:
Olivia De Prato, violin –
Joshua Modney, violin –
Victor Lowrie, viola –
Mariel Roberts, cello –

Sam Pluta, electronics

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Broken Symmetries (or the Masses of Gauge Bosons)

Broken Symmetries was written for Wet Ink Ensemble over the winter of 2011-12. It is a kind of installation/concert work, which creates a sonic environment for the audience to live in. This piece uses my feedback control software as its foundation, filtered through a bank of resonating filters tuned to the harmonic series of the open strings on a violin.

Wet Ink Ensemble:
Joshua Modney, violin –
Erin Lesser, flute –
Alex Mincek, tenor saxophone –
Eric Wubbels, piano –
Ian Antonio, percussion –
Sam Pluta, electronics

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Machine Language

Machine Language was commissioned by and written for percussionist Ian Antonio. This piece focuses on Ian’s virtuosic playing style and unique talent for minimalist expression.

Wet Ink Ensemble and TimeTable Percussion:
Ian Antonio, percussion soloist –
Russell Greenberg and Matthew Gold, percussion –
Jim Altieri and Joshua Modney, violins –
Alex Mincek and Eileen Mack, bass clarinets –
Eric Wubbels, accordion –
Sam Pluta, electronics –
Matt Ward, conductor

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NewMusicBox Articles

Listen November 9 2009 | By Sam Pluta
Sounds Heard: HEALTH—Get Color

By Sam Pluta HEALTH has the skills with guitar pedals and effects units that Gerard Grisey had with clarinets and contrabasses, and it is clear that they are finding interesting...

Listen March 9 2009 | By Sam Pluta
John Corigliano: Circus Maximus

The premiere of Corigliano's ambitious and extravagant wind band piece in 2005 at the University of Texas has become somewhat notorious; Naxos presents the piece on recording for the first...

Articles June 18 2008 | By Sam Pluta
Maximize Information Flow: How to Make Successful Live Electronic Music

In any performance, there is an information network that exists between the performer, the instrument, and the audience. By maximizing information exchange between objects in the performer/instrument/audience network and creating...