Annie Gosfield

Annie Gosfield is a BBC “One woman Hadron collider”. She lives in New York City. She works to blur the lines between electronic and acoustic sounds and notated music. She performs and composes with her own band, as well as performing in festivals, clubs, art spaces, concert halls, and factories. She often draws inspiration from the beauty and inherent beauty of found sounds such as broken pianos, jammed radio signals, warped records at 78 rpm, and machines that have destroyed them. The New York Times called her “a master of musical feedback”, and wrote about her as “Ms. Gosfield’s selection of sounds is not a gimmick. Gosfield is an extraordinary composer with exceptional command of texture, timbre, and is capable of creating a variety of colors, whether she is working solo or with her “21st century avant noisy dream band.” She was active as an educator and held the Darius Milhaud chair at Mills College. She also taught composition at Princeton University and the California Institute of the Arts. Yuval Sharon and the Los Angeles Philharmonic collaborated on the 2017 multi-site opera “War of the Worlds.” This powerful engagement with the public was achieved by Gosfield and the Philharmonic. Three old air raid sirens from downtown Los Angeles were converted into public speakers and broadcast a live performance from Walt Disney Concert Hall. They also allowed musicians and singers to report to the concert hall via remote locations. The 1938 radio drama Orson Welles was resurrected by Yuval Sharon of The Industry, with Chris Rountree as the conductor and Sigourney Weaver as the narrator. The New York Times featured “Gosfield’s thrilling chamber orchestra writing” and Alex Ross chose it as a “Notable performance of 2017”. Gosfield’s music was commissioned by and performed by many of the most prominent contemporary music performers worldwide. These include the West Australian Symphony Orchestra New Music Group and the West Australian Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble. Ex-Kronos cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and Sarah Cahill. Pierre-Andre Valade and Brad Lubman, Rossen Milosov, Christopher Rountree and Roger Smalley have conducted her music. She has also been featured at festivals such as Warsaw Autumn, Ecstatic Music and ISCM World Music Days. Gosfeld’s music was presented at many venues, including Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall and The Stone (New York City), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), Walt Disney Concert Hall, Teatro Olimpico, Rome; Teatro de la Ville (Paris); Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, The Hermitage (Saint Petersburg), and many others. She is a performer and improviser who has performed with Derek Bailey and Roger Kleier, John Zorn and Fred Frith, Chris Cutler and Laurie Anderson. EWA7 is a large-scale piece that she created while residing in Nuremberg’s industrial environment. Signal Jamming, Random Interference and JACK Quartet are two of her compositions. These pieces feature samples of jammed radio signals that Gosfield and JACK played at Roulette. Daughters of the Industrial Revolution is a concert-length work that Gosfield composed with the JACK Quartet. Gosfield has four solo CDs on the Tzadik label. “Almost Truths and Open Deceptions”, her most recent CD, includes a solo piano piece, a broken shortwave radio piece, a chamber cello concerto and a quartet inspired from deteriorating 78 records. It also features a five-minute blast by her own band. It was also included in the year-end lists of Alex Ross of The New Yorker, and Seth Colter Walls from The Awl. “Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites,” her personal approach to contemporary classical music is loud, melodic and atmospheric. Four recent compositions from Joan Jeanrenaud’s extensive work for soloists or ensembles are featured on the CD. They were performed by Joan Jeanrenaud and the FLUX Quartet and others. Tzadik’s 2001 CD “Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery”, features two large-scale pieces that were inspired by her stay in Nuremberg, Germany’s factories. They are EWA7, which is performed by Roger Kleier (guitar), Ikue Morti (electronics), Sim Case and Jim Pugliese, percussion, and Gosfield (sampling keys); and Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery by The Flux Quartet and Talujon Percussion Quartet. Gosfield’s debut solo CD, “Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires”, features music that was inspired by the destruction of instruments. It is performed by ROVA and Ted Mook, her own ensemble. Lisa Moore has also released Lightning Slingers, and Dead Ringers. This extended work for sampler and piano was performed by Ted Mook. Annie’s music was also featured on CDs by ECM and Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi. Wergo, Recommended. Cantaloupe. Rift. EMF. Innova. Atavistic. ORF. Mode. Starkland. Annie collaborated with Manuel Ocampo on installations. A video called Shoot the Player Piano was created for an imaginary orchestra made up of instruments that have been destroyed. It has been shown at international film festivals. She performed and composed music for Christopher Walken’s play “Him”, at the Public Theater. Many choreographers and dance companies have featured her music, including Pam Tanowitz and Susan Marshall, Karole Armitage and Didy Veldman and Skanes Dansteater from Oregon Ballet Theater, Milwaukee Ballet and Gruppen Fyra (Finland), as well as Ballett der Staatsoper Hannover. Gosfield was the curator of The Stone in August 2010. This month featured performances by New York’s top new music interpreters. There were over 20 firsts and unanimously positive notices at the East Village performance venue. In May 2014, she returned to The Stone to present a varied week of her music. This included premieres, chamber music, improvisations and performances by her band. She will be returning to the Stone’s new location, the New School in 2018. The New York Times published Gosfield’s composition articles in “The Score”, an Opinionator section that featured a number of music-related articles. John Zorn edited the book Arcana II. A Gosfield article titled “Fiddling With Sputnik” about the creative process was published. Her work was featured on National Public Radio and in articles in MusikTexte and The New York Times. Sabine Feisst, a prominent musicologist, has presented and published several papers on Gosfield’s work. She most recently published Musik – Stadt: Traditionen and Perspektiven urbaner Musikkulturen (Leipzig, Gudrun Schroder Verlag 2012) and published her research about Gosfield in MusikTexte. A conference about Gosfield’s work took place in Graz, Austria in 2013. Gosfield was awarded fellowships by the American Academy of Berlin (2012), the American Academy at Rome (2015), the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the McKnight Foundation. She also received New York Foundation for the Arts, Civitella Ranieri, the Siemens Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships. She has been awarded grants and awards by the MAP Fund and NYSCA. NewMusicUSA, the League of American Orchestras/Music Alive! and the NEA. Annie was a Princeton visiting lecturer in 2007 and held the Darius Milhaud chair of composition at Mills College in 2005 and 2003, respectively. In 1999, she was a Cal Arts visiting artist and guest composer at Eastman School. Gosfield serves on the Civitella Ranieri Foundation’s advisory council, which is an Umbrian artists’ residency program. Annie presented a noisy, modern music dance band to the Ecstatic Music Festival in 2015. It played music driven by analog synth sounds and machines. The group featured Downtown luminaries Roger Kleier and Billy Martin. A horn section was led by Steven Bernstein. Recent projects include new music to orchestra and a residency at the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, sponsored by The League of American Orchestras. A piece for two pianos with electronics for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Green Umbrella” series. A spatialized electronic work that is inspired by the perceptions and processes of jammed radio broadcasts during WWII. A new Tzadik CD will be released, inspired by Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” murals. It will premiere in Athens, New York and serve as a residency at The Stone at the New School.

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