Pamela Z / Interview by Luca Forcucci – May 24th 2019 / Berlin
Pamela Z is a composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice in real time to create dense, complex sonic layers. Her solo works combine experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, and sampled concrète sounds. She uses MAX MSP and Isadora software on a MacBook Pro along with custom MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound and image with physical gestures. Her performances range in scale from small concerts in galleries to large-scale multi-media works in theaters and concert halls. In addition to her performance work, she has a growing body of inter-media gallery works including multi-channel sound and video installations.
Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan – performing in international festivals including Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center (New York); La Biennale di Venezia (Italy); the Interlink Festival (Japan); Other Minds (San Francisco); and Pina Bausch Tanztheater’s 25 Jahre Fest (Wuppertal, Germany). She has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film/video artists, and has done vocal work for other composers (including Charles Amirkhanian, Vijay Iyer, and Henry Brant). Her large-scale, multi-media performance works, including Memory Trace, Baggage Allowance, Voci, and Gaijin, have been presented at venues like the Kitchen in New York, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Theater Artaud (Z Space) in San Francisco, the Museum of Contemporary Art Theatre in Chicago, as well as at theaters in Washington D.C. and Budapest Hungary. Her one-act opera Wunderkabinet inspired by the Museum of Jurassic Technology (co-composed with Matthew Brubeck) premiered at The LAB Gallery in San Francisco, and was presented at REDCAT in Los Angeles and Open Ears Festival in Canada. She has shown media works in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); Erzbischöfliches Diözesanmuseum (Cologne); the Tang Museum (Saratoga Springs NY); the Dakar Biennale (Sénégal); Krannert Art Museum (IL), and the Kitchen (NY).
Ms. Z has had chamber music commissions from Kronos Quartet, the Bang On A Can All Stars; Ethel String Quartet, the California E.A.R. Unit; the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble; the Empyrean Ensemble, and St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra. She curates and produces “the ROOM Series”, a San Francisco avant-chamber series featuring the work of a variety of virtuosic solo artists and chamber groups playing experimental music. She has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Joan La Barbara, Joan Jeanrenaud, Brenda Way (ODC Dance), Miya Masaoka, Jeanne Finley + John Muse, Shinichi Iova Koga (Inkboat), Christina McPhee, and Luciano Chessa. She has participated in several New Music Theatre events (including John Cage festivals), and has performed with The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Her interactive web-based work Baggage Allowance can be viewed at baggageallowance.tv where it is permanently installed.