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Annie Gosfield

Biography

Annie Gosfield lives in New York City and divides her time between performing on piano and sampler with her own group and composing for many ensembles and soloists. Her work often explores the inherent beauty of non–musical sounds, and is inspired by diverse sources such as machines, destroyed pianos, warped 78 records, and detuned radios. She uses traditional notation, improvisation, and extended techniques to create a sound world that eliminates the boundaries between music and noise, while emphasizing the unique qualities of each performer. A 2012 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and the recipient of the 2008 Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ prestigious “Grants to Artists” award, Gosfield’s essays on composition have been published by the New York Times and featured in the book Arcana II. Active as an educator, she has taught composition at Princeton University, Mills College, and California Institute of the Arts.

Dedicated to working closely with performers, Gosfield has created new works in collaboration with musicians such as ex-Kronos cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, pianist Lisa Moore, cellist Felix Fan, the Miami String Quartet, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Her music has been performed worldwide by some of the best interpreters of contemporary music, including the Flux Quartet, Silesian String Quartet, So Percussion, Talujon Percussion, Present Music, Newband/The Harry Partch instruments, Agon Orchestra, Rova Sax Quartet, The West Australian Symphony Orchestra New Music Group, Blair McMillen, Chris Cutler, Marco Cappelli, George Kentros, Frances-Marie Uitti, Fred Frith, Felix Fan, Stephen Gosling, Sarah Cahill, Anthony de Mare, and many others, at festivals including Warsaw Autumn, ISCM World Music Days, The Bang on a Can Marathon, The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Festival Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Wien Modern, Spoleto Festival USA, OtherMinds, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Settembre Musica Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Company Week, and three "Radical New Jewish Culture" festivals curated by John Zorn. Her music has been presented at venues including The Miller Theatre, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Anchorage, The Stone, Tonic, (New York City); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles); Walker Art Center (Minneapolis); Teatro Olimpico (Rome); Théâtre de la Ville (Paris); Ujazdowski Castle (Warsaw); The Hermitage (Saint Petersburg); and many other spaces worldwide. Gosfield's portrait concert at Merkin Hall was featured in the New York Times' “Best of 2007” issue.

Gosfield's discography includes three solo releases on the Tzadik label. Her most recent CD, Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites, demonstrates her very personal approach to contemporary classical music, at once noisy, melodic, and atmospheric. It features four recent compositions drawn from her extensive work for soloists and ensembles, performed by Joan Jeanrenaud, the FLUX Quartet, and others. Her 2001 Tzadik CD, Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery, features two large–scale pieces inspired by her 1999 residency in the factories of Nuremberg, Germany: EWA7, performed by Roger Kleier (guitar), Ikue Mori (electronics), Sim Cain and Jim Pugliese (percussion) and Gosfield (sampling keyboards); and Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery, performed by The Flux Quartet and Talujon Percussion Quartet. Gosfield's first solo CD, Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires, focuses on music inspired by detuned and destroyed instruments, performed by her own ensemble, ROVA, and cellist Ted Mook. Annie's music has also been featured on CD's released by Sony Classical, CRI, Harmonia Mundi, Wergo, Recommended, Caprice, Cantaloupe, Rift, EMF, Innova, Atavistic, ORF, Mode, and Starkland.

In addition to writing chamber music, Annie has composed a site-specific work for a factory in Germany, collaborated on installations with artist Manuel Ocampo, and created a video for an imaginary orchestra of destroyed instruments which has been shown at international film festivals. Active as a performer and improviser, she has played with Derek Bailey, Joan Jeanrenaud, Roger Kleier, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, William Winant, Ikue Mori, Scanner, Marc Ribot, Larry Ochs, Ches Smith, Min Xiao Fen, Joey Baron, Sim Cain, David Moss, Davey Williams, and LaDonna Smith. Gosfield's music has been featured by many choreographers and dance companies, such as Karole Armitage, Susan Marshall, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Didy Veldman with Skanes Dansteater, Oregon Ballet Theater, Milwaukee Ballet, Gruppen Fyra (Finland), Ballet Gulbenkian (Portugal), and Ballett der Staatsoper Hannover.

The New York Times recently published several of Gosfield’s articles on composition in The Score, a series on music featured in their Opinion section in Times Select. An article by Gosfield on the creative process titled Fiddling With Sputnik was published in the book Arcana II, edited by John Zorn. Her work has been profiled on National Public Radio, and in articles in MusikTexte, The Wire, Contemporary Music Review, Avant Magazine, Strings Magazine, as well as the book Music and the Creative Spirit.

Gosfield was a visiting lecturer at Princeton in 2007, and held the Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition at Mills College in 2003 and 2005. She was a visiting artist at Cal Arts in 1999, and guest composer at the Eastman School. Annie has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Civitella Ranieri, and the Siemens Foundation, and has received grants and awards from the NEA, Meet the Composer, the Argosy Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the American Music Center, U.S. Artists at International Festivals, among others. Current projects include a new portrait CD for Tzadik, a CD of piano works performed by Lisa Moore, and a concert-length piece for Athelas Sinfonietta and her own trio based on the clandestine radio transmissions of the Danish Resistance in World War II to premiere at the Huddersfield Festival.