Joan Linda La Barbara (born June 8, 1947) is an American vocalist and composer known for her explorations of non-conventional or "extended" vocal techniques.Considered to be a vocal virtuoso in the field of contemporary music, she is credited with advancing a new vocabulary of vocal sounds including trills, whispers, cries, sighs, inhaled tones, and multiphonics (singing two or more pitches simultaneously).
An influential figure in experimental music, La Barbara was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a classically trained singer who studied with soprano Helen Boatwright at Syracuse University and contralto Marion Freschl at the Juilliard School in New York.
Joan La Barbara's early creative work (early to mid 1970s) focuses on experimentation and investigation of vocal sound as raw sonic material including works that explore varied timbres on a single pitch, circular breathing techniques inspired by horn players, and multiphonic or chordal singing. In the mid 1970s, she began creating more structured compositional works, some of which include electronics and layered voice sounds.
She has accumulated a large repertoire of vocal works by 20th- and 21st-century music masters, including many pieces composed especially for her voice.She has performed and recorded works by composers including John Cage, Robert Ashley, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Larry Austin, Peter Gordon, Alvin Lucier, and her husband Morton Subotnick, and has collaborated with choreographer Merce Cunningham, and poet Kenneth Goldsmith. She also received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts John Cage Award (2016).
La Barbara is a guest instructor at HB Studio.
Joan La Barbara has also done work acting and composing for television, film, and dance. She composed and performed the music for the Sesame Street animated segment Signing Alphabet, for electronics and voice, and has composed a variety of chamber, orchestral, and choral works. She also appears in Matthew Barney’s 2014 film River of Fundament . La Barbara is currently on the music composition artist faculty at New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, and on the faculty of Mannes/The New School/College of Performing Arts.
Terrence Mitchell Riley is an American composer and performing musician best known as a pioneer of the minimalist school of composition. Influenced by jazz and Indian classical music, his music became notable for its innovative use of repetition, tape music techniques, and delay systems.
Christian G. Wolff is an American composer of experimental classical music.
Benjamin Burwell Johnston Jr. was an American contemporary music composer using just intonation. He was called "one of the foremost composers of microtonal music" by Philip Bush (1997) and "one of the best non-famous composers this country has to offer" by John Rockwell (1990).
Alvin Lucier is an American composer of experimental music and sound installations that explore acoustic phenomena and auditory perception. A long-time music professor at Wesleyan University, Lucier was a member of the influential Sonic Arts Union, which included Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma. Much of his work is influenced by science and explores the physical properties of sound itself: resonance of spaces, phase interference between closely tuned pitches, and the transmission of sound through physical media.
Robert Reynolds Ashley was an American contemporary composer, who was best known for his television operas and other theatrical works, many of which incorporate electronics and extended techniques. His works often involve intertwining narratives and take a surreal multidisciplinary approach to sound, theatrics and writing, and have been continuously performed by various interpreters during and after his life, including Automatic Writing (1979) and Perfect Lives (1984).
Frederic Anthony Rzewski is an American composer and virtuoso pianist. His major compositions, which often incorporate social and political themes, include the minimalist Coming Together and the piano variations The People United Will Never Be Defeated!
"Blue" Gene Tyranny is an avant-garde composer and pianist.
Morton Subotnick is an American composer of electronic music, best known for his 1967 composition Silver Apples of the Moon, the first electronic work commissioned by a record company, Nonesuch. He was one of the founding members of California Institute of the Arts, where he taught for many years.
David Rosenboom is an American composer and a pioneer in the use of neurofeedback, cross-cultural collaborations and compositional algorithms. Working with Don Buchla, he was one of the first composers to use a digital synthesizer.
Nonesuch Records is an American record company and label owned by Warner Music Group, distributed by Warner Records, and based in New York City. Founded by Jac Holzman in 1964 as a budget classical label, Nonesuch has developed into a label that records critically acclaimed music from a wide range of genres. Robert Hurwitz was president of the company from 1984 to 2017.
Philip Lionel Corner is an American composer, trombonist, alphornist, vocalist, pianist, music theorist, music educator, and visual artist.
Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine, known professionally as Charlemagne Palestine, is an American visual artist and musician.
Garrett List was an American trombonist, vocalist, and composer.
Lovely Music is an American record label devoted to new American music. Based in New York City, the label was founded in 1978 by Mimi Johnson, an outgrowth of her nonprofit production company Performing Artservices Inc. It is one of the most important and longest running labels focusing exclusively on new music and has released over 100 recordings on LP, CD, and videocassette.
Mimi Johnson is a New York City-based arts administrator.
Maggi Payne is an American composer, flutist, video artist, recording engineer/editor, and historical remastering engineer who creates electroacoustic, instrumental, vocal works, and works involving visuals.
Stephen L. (Lucky) Mosko was an American composer. His music blended high modernism with world music, and he was an expert in Icelandic folk music. His, "seemingly contradictory," influences include uptown, downtown, and the West Coast school; including John Cage, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Morton Feldman, and Mel Powell.
Leonard David Stein was a musicologist, pianist, conductor, university teacher, and influential in promoting contemporary music on the American West Coast. He was for years Arnold Schoenberg's assistant, music director of the Schoenberg Institute at USC, and among the foremost authorities on Schoenberg's music. He was also an influential teacher in the lives of many younger composers, such as the influential minimalist La Monte Young.
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