Joan La Barbara
Joan La Barbara, composer, performer, sound artist and actor, is renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques—multiphonics, circular singing, ululation and glottal clicks—influencing generations of composers and singers. In 2008, the American Music Center conveyed its Letter of Distinction Award to Ms. La Barbara for her significant contributions to American Contemporary Music. Awards and prizes include Premio Internazionale “Demetrio Stratos;” DAAD-Berlin Artist-in-Residency; Civitella Ranieri, Guggenheim and seven National Endowment for the Arts fellowships; and numerous commissions. Composing for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, theater, orchestra, interactive technology and sound scores for dance, video and film, including a score for voice and electronics for Sesame Street, her multi-layered textural compositions were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, Frankfurt Feste, Metamusik-Berlin, Olympics Arts and Lincoln Center.
Ms. La Barbara was Artistic Director of the multi-year Carnegie Hall series “When Morty Met John” and the New Music America festival in Los Angeles, and co-founded the performing composers collective Ne(x)tworks. She has produced and still performs on acclaimed recordings of music by John Cage, Morton Feldman and Earle Brown, and has premiered landmark compositions written for her by Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Cage, Feldman, Philip Glass, Alvin Lucier, Steve Reich, Morton Subotnick and James Tenney. She has also collaborated on projects with artists Matthew Barney, Judy Chicago, Christian Marclay, Bruce Nauman, Steina, Woody Vasulka and Lawrence Weiner.
Recordings of her work include “ShamanSong” (New World), “Sound Paintings” and “Voice is the Original Instrument” (Lovely Music). 73 Poems, her collaboration with text-artist Kenneth Goldsmith, was included in The American Century Part II: Soundworks at The Whitney Museum. The award-winning interactive media/performance work Messa di Voce premiered at ars electronica festival in Linz.
Exploring ways of immersing the audience in her music, Ms. La Barbara recently placed musicians and actors throughout Greenwich House Music School for her music/theater piece Journeys and Observable Events, allowing the audience to explore the building, unveiling theatrical and sonic events. In March 2011, she seated musicians of the American Composers Orchestra around and among the audience in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, building her sonic painting In solitude this fear is lived, inspired by Agnes Martin’s minimalist drawings. Ms. La Barbara is developing a solo performance work, Storefront Diva, for pianist Kathleen Supové, and composing a new opera exploring the artistic process, interior dialogue and sounds within the mind.
For more information, visit www.joanlabarbara.com.