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Joan La Barbara

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Virtuoso vocalist Joan La Barbara has explored the possibilities of voice and extended techniques such as multiphonics and glottal clicks since the '70s. She has performed with orchestras all over the world, from the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestra of the Hague, and has premiered operas including Robert Ashley's Now Eleanor's Idea and Jacob's Room by Morton Subotnick, with whom La Barbara cowrote The Misfortune of the Immortals. This piece (also co-written by Mark Coniglio) is an example of her work melding electronics and technology into performance. Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, and James Tenney are among the American composers who have written works specifically for her. As a composer, she has also written chamber pieces, works for radio, television, and a number of film scores including the score for Anima (1991). She has worked with choreographers and artists, such as Merce Cunningham, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Lita Albuquerque. Her own recordings can be found on the Lovely Music, Music & Arts, and New World labels; she has produced a number of modern classical recordings as well. She is the recipient of fellowship awards and commissions from the NEA, Meet the Composer, Akustische International Competition Award, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and more. In addition to performing and recording, Joan La Barbara has spent much of her time educating vocalists during the '80s and '90s. ~ Joslyn Layne

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08 June 1947 in Philadelphia, PA

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s