In her lecture at the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Joan La Barbara detailed how she came to master the one instrument we all have access to and how her work has continued to evolve over the decades.
A vocal virtuoso and sound artist whose presence looms large in the world of experimental music, Joan La Barbara began expanding the possibilities of the human voice in the ‘70s. From multiphonic singing to circular breathing techniques, she developed a whole new vocabulary of trills, whispers, cries and clicks. Often using electronic elements in her compositions, she has collaborated with a stunning array of orchestras and composers including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Cage and her husband Morton Subotnick. A television and film composer, actress, and educator, she’s currently on the Composition Faculty of NYU.
1:20 - Sound paintings
17:40 - Meeting and working with John Cage
33:38 - "Circular Song" score and technique
59:45 - American Rendition
1:09:35 - Alien Resurrection and voice-over work
1:21:28 - Extended vocal techniques demonstration
1:00 - Joan La Barbara – “Klee Alee” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzmYA5imuyw
15:27 - Joan La Barbara – “Cathing” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k76EQizyMH0
33:17 - Joan La Barbara – “Circular Song” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX6SP30l92M
48:23 - Joan La Barbara Signing Alphabet, Sesame Street https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y819U6jBDog
1:02:07 - Joan La Barbara and Jane Comfort – “Rabbit Hole Acid Trip”
The Red Bull Music Academy is a global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music. We celebrate music, its culture, and the transformative minds behind it. Begun in 1998, the Academy has taken the core principles that underlie its annual workshop for selected participants and applied this curatorial approach to events, lectures, and city-wide festivals throughout the year.
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