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Pamela Z

Idioma disponible: inglés
Pamela Z is noted for her inventive approach to vocal-based composition and performance, utilizing live electronic processing to create complex, hypnotic pieces which incorporate operatic bel canto as well as speech and found sounds. The San Francisco-based artist has been using looping techniques in her work since the early 1980s, and in her more recent performances, she uses custom MIDI controllers in order to manipulate audio and visuals. Aside from her solo performances, Z has composed large-scale media works, original scores for choreographers and video artists, and a one-act opera. She has also been commissioned to compose music for chamber ensembles such as Kronos Quartet, the Bang on a Can Allstars, and the Empyrean Ensemble. Z has been granted awards such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, the ASCAP Music Award, the Creative Capital Fund, the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, and several others. Though her work has appeared on numerous compilations since the 1980s, Z's solo album discography consists of only three releases, from 1988's Echolocation to 2021's A Secret Code, featuring pieces from her performances. Pamela Z was born in Buffalo and raised near Denver. She studied classical voice at the University of Colorado at Boulder, receiving her bachelor's degree in music. She initially played guitar and performed as a singer/songwriter, and released a soft rock LP under her original name, Pam Brooks, in 1983. She began experimenting with digital delay, composing vocal-based performance pieces incorporating looping techniques. She relocated to San Francisco in 1984 and legally changed her name to Pamela Z. She performed at numerous venues, galleries, and theaters throughout the 1980s, including shared bills with Negativland and Nina Hagen. In 1988, she released the cassette Echolocation, a mixture of new wave art-pop songs and loop-based vocal collage pieces. Z's compositions appeared on several avant-garde compilations during the 1990s, including From A to Z (1993) and Sonic Circuits IV (1996). Her commissioned work Parts of Speech was premiered as a radio piece and performance in 1995. She continued composing scores for film, dance, and intermedia performances, as well as chamber works, and was regularly performing throughout North America, Europe, and Japan by the beginning of the 21st century. A Delay Is Better, a compact disc collecting a dozen of Z's compositions from the 1980s and '90s, was released by Starkland in 2004, with liner notes written by Pauline Oliveros. Z and harpist Victoria Jordanova collaborated for a recording of John Cage's Postcard from Heaven, which was issued by Arpaviva Recordings in 2006. Z co-wrote and performed pieces on two albums by Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd, and additionally appeared on Lisle Ellis' 2008 album Sucker Punch Requiem: An Homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat along with Oliver Lake, Susie Ibarra, George Lewis, and other musicians. Her interpretation of Meredith Monk's "Scared Song" was recorded for the 2012 collection Monk Mix. Z premiered works such as Baggage Allowance, Memory Trace, and Carbon Song Cycle during the 2010s, and her chamber works were performed by Kronos Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, Paul Dresher Ensemble, Apollo Chamber Players, and others. A Secret Code, the third album of pieces drawn from Z's performance works, was released by Neuma Records in 2021, with liner notes penned by Annea Lockwood. Later in the year, Freedom to Spend reissued Echolocation digitally and on vinyl.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
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