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Shanna Pranaitis

Evanston, IL            

Shanna Pranaitis fearlessly expands the realm of sonic possibility for her instruments through innovative performances and educational projects, in which she integrates new and historically reimagined works with electronics, movement, lighting and other multi-disciplinary elements to create seamless, immersive concert experiences. She is interested in exploring ways to engage and involve a wider community in the process of experiencing music. 

She travels the world regularly to perform and teach as a solo guest artist and with the chamber ensembles Memoria Nova and Collect/Project. She has performed and taught as a guest artist in Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, The Netherlands, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia, and the United Kingdom. An important part of this work is the close cooperation with living composers, poets, movement artist, and other interdisciplinary artists, around the world on the development of new work. She is the co-founder of FluteXpansions, the first comprehensive e-learning platform, and laboratory for composers and performers to explore contemporary flute music and techniques. 

Shanna has presented premiere performances of pieces written for her at such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL), Sonic Fusion Festival (UK), Darmstadt Ferienkurse (DE), International Computer Music Conference, and Omaha Under the Radar, among others. She has received numerous accolades for her performances including, prizes at the Stockhausen Courses, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, and New Music USA project grants. In 2017, she co-curated and co-organized the first multi-day festival of Galina Ustvolskaya’s music (Power In Sound) in the United States. She was previously a founding member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, with whom she received the 2012 Kranichstein Prize for Interpretation.

The most recent recording includes a disc of Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf’s works for flute on NEOS, in addition to previous releases of the album Mobile with guitarist Jesse Langen, featuring world premiere recordings of music by Fredrick Gifford, and the album SORI featuring works by Kyong Mee Choi for instruments and electronics. Current recording projects also include a solo disc of works for her Kingma open-hole bass flute.

Shanna has studied contemporary music under Matthias Ziegler, Camilla Hoitenga, Eva Furrer, Philippe Racine, and Kathinka Pasveer. Such has served as indispensable enrichment to her performance studies at the University of Michigan (Amy Porter) and Northwestern University (Walfrid Kujala), where she received her masters and bachelors degrees, respectively. Her formative training was guided by Monty Adams and Dolores Humberg, to whom she is deeply grateful. She was also a former fellow of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival. A passionate educator, Shanna is on faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago, and maintains an active private studio in the Chicago area. She is also certified to teach the Suzuki method having received her training from David Gerry and Kelly Williamson.

Shanna performs on a Burkart flute and piccolo and Kingma bass and alto flutes. 


Following the UNLEASHED concert in January 2015, we created this video compilation from the January show—about two minutes of each work, featuring the three world premieres of the works funded by my project grant (https://www.newmusicusa.org/projects/new-works-for-the-open-hole-bass-flute/).

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XI vom MONTAGs GRUSS aus LICHT by Karlheinz Stockhausen

Prize-winning performance from the 2013 Stockhausen Courses in Kürten, Germany.
Xi as a Greek letter has the meaning “unknown quantity” and in the case of this piece, the “unknown quantity” refers to unknown musical qualities produced as a result of timbre changes and individual variance in realizing the microtonal steps in the score.  The MONDAY-Segment of the musical super-formula for LICHT is comprised of three synchronous formulae, stretched into a melody that subdivides intervals into as many as 7 steps within a minor second. The dominant

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Behind the fractured, percussive lines played by the bass flute lay the remains of the shattered recording of a reading of a poem by Arthur Rimbaud. The recording is barely perceivable, the source never recognizable. However the shattered recording is essential in the understanding of the piece, as it served the role of a seed from which the rhythmic and timbral materials germinated.

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