Joan la Barbara

JOAN LA BARBARA, composer, performer, sound artist, and actor, is renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques (multiphonics, circular singing, ululation, and glottal clicks, her “signature sounds”), influencing generations of composers and singers. Awards and prizes include: Premio Internazionale Demetrio Stratos; DAAD-Berlin Artist-in-Residency; Civitella Ranieri, Guggenheim and 7 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (in the fields of Music Composition, Opera/Music Theater, Inter-Arts, two for Recording, Solo Recital and Visual Arts), and numerous commissions. Composing for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, theater, orchestra, interactive technology, and soundscores for dance, video and film, including a score for voice and electronics for Sesame Street, her multi-layered textural compositions were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, MaerzMusik Berlin, Lincoln Center and many other international festivals and venues.  Artistic Director of the multi-year Carnegie Hall series “When Morty Met John” and co-founder of performing composers-collective Ne(x)tworks. Recordings of her work include: ShamanSong (New World); Sound Paintings; the landmark recording of her seminal works from the 70's Voice is the Original Instrument ; and 73 Poems (Lovely Music) her collaboration with poet Kenneth Goldsmith, which was included in The American Century Part II: Soundworks at The Whitney Museum. In addition to internationally-acclaimed recordings Three Voices for Joan La Barbara by Morton Feldman and Joan La Barbara singing through John Cage, she has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Elektra-Nonesuch, Sony, Virgin, Voyager and Wergo.  She has collaborated with visual artists Matthew Barney, Judy Chicago, Ed Emshwiller, Bruce Nauman, Steina, Woody Vasulka, and Lawrence Weiner and sites conceptual artworks as influential on her early work. Exploring ways of immersing the audience in her music, La Barbara placed musicians and actors throughout Greenwich House Music School for her music/theater piece Journeys and Observable Events, allowing the audience to explore the building, unveiling theatrical and sonic events, and seated the American Composers Orchestra around and among the audience in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, building her sonic painting “in solitude this fear is lived”, inspired by Agnes Martin’s minimalist drawings.  Serving on the Faculties of California Institute of the Arts, Hochschule der Künst in Berlin, The College of Santa Fe, The University of New Mexico, she now teaches music composition at  New York University. La Barbara is currently composing a new opera exploring the artistic process, interior dialogue, and sounds within the mind. Website:

Event Title
Date & Time
  • Sat. Nov 2, 7:30 pm
Female vocalists demonstrate the range of the human voice through Extended Vocal Technique, bringing early pioneers and new practitioners to the stage. Featuring Joan La Barbara, Maja Ratkje and The M6: Meredith Monk Music Third Generation.