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Pamela Z


San Francisco, CA         

Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampling technology, 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 flexible black-box venues and proscenium 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, Parts of SpeechGaijinVoci, and Baggage Allowance have been presented at venues including the Kitchen in New York, Theater Artaud and ODC Theater 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 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 commissions from Kronos Quartet, the Bang On A Can Allstars; Ethel, 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 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 Miya Masaoka, Joan Jeanrenaud, Brenda Way (ODC Dance), Jeanne Finley + John Muse, Shinichi Momo Koga, Christina McPhee, Leigh Evans, and Jo Kreiter.  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 was officially launced in summer of 2011 at baggageallowance.tv where it remains permanently available.

Pamela Z is the recipient of many honors and awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship, the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts; the Creative Capital Fund; the MAP Fund, the ASCAP Music Award; an Ars Electronica honorable mention; and the NEA Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship.  She holds a music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. For more information, about Pamela Z, please visit: www.pamelaz.com


Articles by Pamela Z:

Articles November 1 2004 | By Pamela Z
Making the Old New Again

As praise, parody, study, mockery, comparison, portraiture, or open-ended commentary, we take aural snapshots of what we hear and print them, enlarge them, cut and paste them, and shuffle them...