Get to Know
Residency Dates
  • Sep 16th 2008 to Sep 27th 2008
Region
USA
Membership
Phantom Orchard

Zeena Parkins, multi-instrumentalist,
composer, improvisor, well-known as a pioneer of the electric harp,
has also extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive
use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of digital
and analog processing. Zeena makes use of anything within reach
as a possible tool with which she can enhance the sonic capabilities
of her harps. She accurately describes her harp as a “sound machine
of limitless capacity” and has used, household objects and hardware
store finds, including: alligator clips, nails, rubber erasers,
rubber tubing, felt, bows, metal candy lids, oversized metal bolts,
hair clips, glass jars, discarded strings, as well as more conventional:
leslie cabinets, guitar pedals, and numerous other digital processing
hardware and assorted and varied software.

Zeena’s unique vision
is one that seeks to both meld and highlight opposites and extends
to her work for her ensemble compositions. She has blurred boundaries
between improvised and composed, acoustic and electric, digital
and analog, and processed and concrete sounds to create many of
her pieces. She achieves this engagement of contrasts by using instrument
blending and morphing, the recombination of cut-up sounds to form
odd and breathtaking soundscapes, and scoring and formal constructions
derived from extra-musical sources. This process is evident in ensemble
works such as the Trilogy written for her Gangster Band (a septet
that includes strings and percussion and electronics), orchestral
works commissioned by Bang on a Can, orchestrations for the Kitchen
Blend Group and her on-going project of re-constructions of Debussy’s
La Mer.

Zeena has received numerous
commissions to provide scores for film, video, chamber orchestras,
theater and dance. She has a strong commitment to provide sound
for dance and has created over 30 scores for American and European
choreographers. Zeena’s work for dance has inspired her to explore
unpredictable orchestrations and more ambitious sonic presentations
including: her quadraphonic bubble wrap score for Money Shot and
a 60- speaker installation built to hang over the audience in “(voice
tells) 14 tiny pictures, no more no less,” both for Jennifer Lacey;
her live mixes and assemblages for Neil Greenberg and the numerous
live music scores, both improvised and composed she has performed
with her long-time collaborator Jennifer Monson.

Ms. Parkins has appeared
on over 70 CD’s and in hundreds of concerts in both large and small
spaces all over the world. A lightning bolt of a performer, Zeena
is a sought after collaborator, performing with Jim O’Rourke, Nels
Cline, Lee Renaldo, Kaffe Matthews (Weightless Animals), Thurston
Moore, and Pauline Oliveros. Special projects have included touring
and recording with Bjork (Vespertine, World Tour and Family Tree
Tour), Tin Hat Trio (Book of Silk), Yoko Ono (Blueprint for a Sunrise),
Don Byron, Butch Morris (International Comprovisation Ensemble),
Elliott Sharp (Psycho~Acoustic, Orchestra Carbon), Ikue Mori (Phantom
Orchard, B Side, Hex Kitchen), John Zorn (Cobra, Bezique, Darts,
The Bribe) and Fred Frith (Soloist in Traffic Continues , Graphic
Scores, Skeleton Crew and Keep the Dog). Zeena has appeared in dozens
of music festivals in Europe, South America, Japan and the States
including: Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Lincoln Center Festival
2000, The Serious Fun Festival, ExperImenta in Buenos Aires, The
Music Merge Festival in Tokyo, The Moers Festival in Germany, Willisau
and Tacklos Festival in Switzerland, the LMC Festival in London,
Vancouver Coastal Jazz and Blues Festival, Musique Action International
in France, the Festival Mimi in Arles, City of Women Festival in
Slovenia and the Festival Musique Actuelle in Canada. (continued)