Pamela Z speaking at Third Coast International Audio Festival 2005
|Birth name||Pamela Brooks|
Pamela Z (born Pamela Brooks, 1956, Buffalo, New York) is an American composer, performer, and audio artist who works primarily with her voice and live electronic processing.
Raised in the Denver area, the African American Z received her bachelor's degree in music from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she studied classical voice. After performing throughout Colorado as a rock musician under the name Pam Brooks, her experiments with live digital delay vocal processing in the early 1980s led her down a different artistic path. In 1984 she relocated to San Francisco where she changed her name to Pamela Z and became entrenched in the Bay Area contemporary music and performance scene. In 1990, she began regularly touring her solo performance work with engagements at performance galleries and new music venues such as New York’s Roulette Intermedium.
In performance today, she typically processes her live voice through MAX MSP software on a MacBook Pro, combining operatic bel canto and experimental extended vocal techniques with percussion objects, spoken word, and sampled sounds. Z has performed in such festivals as Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center in New York, the Interlink Festival in Japan, Other Minds in San Francisco, and La Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy.
In addition to her solo works, Z has composed a number of commissioned works for chamber ensembles such as Kronos Quartet, the Bang on a Can Allstars, Ethel, The California EAR Unit, the Robin Cox Ensemble, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and Orchestra of St. Luke's. She has also composed scores for modern dance companies including ODC/Dance, Flyaway Productions, and Mary Armentrout Dance Theater. In addition, she has composed and recorded film scores for independent documentaries and art films by filmmakers such as Barbara Hammer, Lynn Sachs, Jeanne Finley and John Muse.
Many of her signature pieces are collected on the 2004 Starkland release, A Delay is Better. In 2008 her work "Declaratives In First Person" was included on the compilation album Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records) produced by Mendi + Keith Obadike. She is a member of the electroacoustic ensemble sensorChip and the interdisciplinary performance ensemble The Qube Chix, both based in San Francisco. Z has received numerous awards, including: the Guggenheim Fellowship; the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts; the Creative Capital Fund; the ASCAP Music Award; and the NEA and Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship.
Z is also known for her narration work in independent film and television. Her voice appears in several documentaries including Sam Green's The Weather Underground (2002), Hrabba Gunnarsdottir's Alive in Limbo, and the PBS station KQED's weekly arts TV program Spark.
Honors and Awards
Z has received numerous awards, including: the Guggenheim Fellowship (2004); the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts (1998); the Creative Capital Fund (2002); the ASCAP Music Award (2000-2012); the MAP Fund (2009 and 2012); and the NEA and Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship (1998). In 2008 she was honored as Alumna of the Year by the University of Colorado at Boulder College of Music, and she received a Prix Ars Electronica honorable mention (Linz, Austria) in the Digital Musics Category.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pamela Z.|
- official Pamela Z website
- From A to Z compilation CD
- Crosstalk: American Speech Music compilation CD
- surround sound recording of Live/Work, commissioned by Starkland
- A Delay Is Better CD from Starkland