Keynote Address‎ > ‎

Joan La Barbara

 "Vissi d'arte: A Lifetime Collaborating in Media and Technology"

    Joan La Barbara

      Saturday February 10, 2018 - 12:15 PM

      Music Building Room 1145

Abstract: Joan La Barbara, internationally renowned composer/performer/sound artist and celebrated pioneer of extended vocal techniques presents her work over 4 decades in technology, interactive media and expanded voice. In 1967, while at Syracuse University, La Barbara began experimenting with the sonic possibilities of the early MOOG Modular synthesizer. In 1970, she began her explorations of the voice as instrument, perfecting many of the "extended techniques" that have become her "signature sounds", influencing generations of composers. In 1974, at Festival d'Automne à Paris, she performed with Alvin Lucier, David Behrman and Robert Ashley, her earliest collaborations with other composers working with electronics. Her vocal and electronic score for the "signing alphabet" has broadcast worldwide on "Sesame Street" since 1977, exposing children to her singular work. Her interactive media collaborations in the '80's and '90's with Steina and Woody Vasulka, Morton Subotnick and Mark Coniglio resulted in several multi-city performances, including her media opera "Events in the Elsewhere", exploring voice activated video disc. La Barbara's fascination with immersive art experiences began in 1975 with "CYCLONE" for voice, synthesizer, percussion and light-activated panning device (included on her most recent Bluray release "The Early Immersive Music of Joan La Barbara" for quad and surround-sound) and has continued through recent works including "in solitude this fear is lived" placing the audience in the center of the orchestra for her "sound painting" influenced by the work of Agnes Martin, and "Storefront Diva: a dreamscape" for pianist in a theatrical environment, inspired by the dreams of Joseph Cornell. In her keynote address, La Barbara will present recent and vintage examples of her interdisciplinary work.

Bio: Joan La Barbara, composer, performer, sound artist, and actor, is renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques, influencing generations of composers and singers. In 2016 she received the Foundation of Contemporary Arts John Cage Award. Commissions include scores for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, orchestra, interactive technology, dance, video and film, including a score for voice and electronics for Sesame Street broadcast worldwide since 1977. Her music from "Erin" is a featured part of Jóhann Jóhannsson's filmscore for "Arrival" (2016). Recordings of her work include: "ShamanSong"; "Sound Paintings", "Voice is the Original Instrument"; "Tapesongs" "73 Poems” and “The Early Immersive Music of Joan La Barbara”. Her multi-layered textural compositions were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, MaerzMusik Berlin, and Lincoln Center among many others.