Residency Dates: June 25, 2017 - July 15, 2017
Application Deadline: January 22, 2017

Zeena Parkins is a composer and improviser: a pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance who reimagines the instrument as a “sound machine of limitless capacity.” She has extended the language of both acoustic harp and an evolution of her original electric ones, through the inventive use of expanded playing techniques, objects, and custom designed electronic processing.

Her work draws on a relationship to dance, film, feminism, assemblage, architecture, urbanism, lists, textiles and detritus. In a circuitous path her processes employ sound travel and transformation, tracings, expanded forms of scoring, historical and technical research.  She challenges and embraces contradictions and perceived boundaries through a morphing of real and illusionary instruments, the use of multi-speaker audio installations and other extra-musical considerations.

Within a shifting constellation of Improvised/Composed/ Space/Sound/Noise/Music, Parkins remains in proximity to our body’s social dialogue with the insides and outsides of listening, with sound’s physicality, and music as material and matter, engaged in the ongoing translations of sonic states within a multitude of environments both expected and surprising.

Commissions include: DAAD, Either/Or Ensemble, Ensemble Son, NeXtWorks Ensemble, Roulette Intermedium, Eclipse Quartet, William Winant, Bang on a Can, The Whitney Museum, The Tate Modern, Sharjah Art Foundation, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Montalvo Arts Center, The Donaueschinger Musiktage and Sudwestrundfunk; Supported by Meet the Composer Commission, NYSCA Composer Commission, MAP Fund, American Music Center, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Arts International.

Her collaboration with choreographers include:  Neil Greenberg, John Jasperse, Jennifer Monson, Jennifer Lacey, DD Dorvillier, and Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh as well as Miro Dance Theater and Body Cartography Project. Collaborations with filmmakers include soundtracks for Cynthia Madansky, Daria Martin, Abigail Child

She has performed/recorded with: Bjork, Ikue Mori, Fred Frith, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Tony Buck, William Winant, Magda Mayas, Rova Sax Quartet, Maja Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Brian Chase, Jim Black, Nate Wooley, Bobby Previte, Chris Cutler, Mark Stewart, Nels Cline, Mick Barr, James Fei, Okkyung Lee, Matmos, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Kim Gordon, Lee Renaldo, Thurston Moore, Yasunao Tone and So Percussion.

A partial list of her awards include: Doris Duke Artist Award, Three NY Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies), DAAD Artist Fellowship, Shifting Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYFA Music Fellowship, MAP Fund, Peter S. Reed Fellowship, Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention. Residencies include: Herb Alpert/Ucross, Rauschenberg Residency, DAAD/Berlin, Civitella Ranieri, Oxford University/Ruskin School, Harvestworks/NYC, Steim/Amsterdam, and Montalvo/California.

Ms. Parkins has been a lecturer at Oxford and Princeton Universities and has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Bard College. Currently, she is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Mills College.

For more information, please visit

Funding for Zeena Parkins has been made possible in part by the BMI Foundation, Inc

Residency Description

In the residency, we will explore the role of experimental scoring in relation to improvisation and composition.  Drawing on our years of experience making scores at the intersection of dance and music, we have developed a collaborative process that includes scribing for each other immediately after improvising with specific scores. In this process, we have found that we unearth the different qualities of sonic and kinetic information that is both shared and distinct to sound and movement. From these discussions we generate new ideas and scores to research together, inevitably developing material that makes its way into new work. We share a particular interest in addressing different understandings of space, both natural and constructed, and its impact on and interaction with sonic and kinetic interventions. 

The residency will focus on the idea of a score as a means to generate material, research ideas and create performances. We are interested in starting with a very small kernel of information and seeing how far we can expand it in the three weeks. We will work collectively, in small groups and individually. The process will include generating movement, sound, drawings, photographs and writing. We are interested in experimenting with different kinds of visual and text-based instructions and parameters in the scoring.  Through the daily improvising and writing practice, we will each develop a score diary that can be used as a resource for making new work. This open-ended process will be adapted to the specific interests of the associate artists.

We are interested in working with artists who use sound and movement as the basis of their practice. In the past this has not been limited to music and dance artists, but has also included photographers, urban ecologists, biologists, landscape architects, architects and other visual and new media artists.

Application Requirements

1. How you define and/or use scores in your work. 1-2 pages. (.doc, .docx, .pdf)

2. A selection of 2 to 3 audio, video, or two-dimensional work samples:
– Total audio/video work sample time 20 minutes maximum:  excerpts or completed work: via Sound Cloud/Vimeo/YouTube/link to your web site

– Image requirements – Up to 5 pdf or image files of scores, diagrams, drawings or photographs

3.  A two-page resume or narrative biography (.doc, .docx, .pdf)

Residency Fee: $900

Includes a $100 administration fee, weekday meals and housing; does not include artist materials, transportation, or weekend meals.

Scholarships / Financial Assistance

Only accepted Associate Artists may apply for financial assistance. For details, please visit the master artist details page.

Application fee: $25 

Click here to Apply!


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