Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Music Composition
Competition: US & Canada
Annie Gosfield, whom the BBC called “A one woman Hadron collider,” lives in New York City and works on the boundaries between acoustic and electronic sounds, notated and improvised music, refined timbres and noise. Her music is inspired by diverse sources, such as machines, satellites, jammed radio signals, warped 78’s, and the inherent beauty of found sound. The New York Times wrote “Her extraordinary command of texture and timbre means that whether she is working with a solo cello or with the ensemble she calls her ‘21st-century avant noisy dream band,’ she is able to conjure up a palette of saturated and heady hues.”
Gosfield’s recent work includes orchestral music, a series of solo pieces with electronics, and an opera for the Los Angeles Philharmonic that incorporates site specific performances broadcast to air raid sirens. She has received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome (2015 Fromm Composer in Residence), the American Academy in Berlin (2012), the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2008), NYFA, and the Siemens Foundation. She held the Darius Milhaud chair of composition at Mills College, and has taught at Princeton University and California Institute of the Arts. Annie has written several articles for the New York Times’ series on composition “The Score.”
Dedicated to working closely with performers, Gosfield has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the JACK Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Joan Jeanrenaud, Lisa Moore, Felix Fan, Frances-Marie Uitti, and many others. Her music has been performed at The NYPhil Biennial, Warsaw Autumn, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Lincoln Center, The Miller Theatre, Ecstatic Music Festival, Company Week, Berghain, The Stone and The Kitchen. Active as an improvisor and musician, Annie has performed on piano and sampling keyboard with John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Derek Bailey, Ikue Mori, Ches Smith, Roger Kleier, and many others. Collaborators in the dance world include Pam Tanowitz Dance, Susan Marshall, and Karole Armitage. She wrote music and performed in Christopher Walken’s play “Him” at the Public Theater, and her video project Shoot the Player Piano has been shown at film festivals internationally.
Large-scale projects include Gosfield’s signature industrial piece, EWA7, a site-specific work created during a life-changing residency in the factories of Nuremberg, Germany; Almost Truths and Open Deceptions, a cello concerto composed for a MusicAlive residency sponsored by the League of American Orchestras; a band with drummer Billy Martin and a horn section led by Steven Bernstein that premiered at the Ecstatic Music Festival; and Floating Messages and Fading Frequencies, part of a series of works that examine the radio transmissions of resistance groups in WWII, performed by Athelas Sinfonietta and Gosfield’s trio in a 2011 UK tour.
Annie's discography includes four diverse solo releases on the Tzadik label, as well as releases on ECM, Sono Luminus, New Amsterdam, Sony Classical, Innova, EMF, CRI, Starkland, Mode, ReR, Harmonia Mundi, Wergo, CRI, and Atavistic.
As a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow, Gosfield will embark on “War of the Worlds” in collaboration with director Yuval Sharon and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Based on the 1938 radio broadcast and performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall, this unprecedented opera incorporates repurposed air raid sirens that transmit the LA Phil’s performance to several public locations, along with on-site performances by singers and instrumentalists.
Annie Gosfield, Scoring the Music of Machines
Annie Gosfield: Videos
Photograph credit: Josh Gosfield