Zeena Parkins with Cosa Brava, Jazzit, Salzburg, Austria, April 5, 2008
1956 (age 61–62)|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Genres||Experimental, free improvisation, avant-garde|
|Instruments||Harp, accordion, keyboards, omnichord|
|Labels||No Man's Land, Tzadik|
|Associated acts||News from Babel, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Cosa Brava, John Zorn, Ikue Mori|
Zeena Parkins is an American harpist active in free improvisation and jazz. Parkins plays standard harps, as well as several custom electric harps; she also plays piano and accordion. She is currently a guest faculty member for composition courses at Mills College.
Life and career
Her work ranges from solo performance to large ensembles. Besides standard and electric harps, her work also incorporates Foley, field recordings, analog synthesizers, samplers, oscillators and homemade instruments.
She has done several solo recordings and has also recorded or performed with Björk, John Zorn (including in Cobra performances), Elliott Sharp, Ikue Mori, Butch Morris, Tin Hat Trio, Jim O'Rourke, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Lee Ranaldo, Nels Cline, Pauline Oliveros, Anthony Braxton, Matmos, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Courtney Love's band Hole and others.
She has been a member of a number of experimental rock bands, including No Safety, News from Babel, Skeleton Crew and Fred Frith's review band, Keep the Dog. In March 2008 she joined Frith's Cosa Brava quintet comprising Frith, Parkins, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, and The Norman Conquest.
Parkins has often worked with dance companies and choreographers, including the John Jasperse Company, Jennifer Monson, Neil Greenberg, Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh, BodyCartography Project,  and Jennifer Lacey, and has won a Bessie Award for "sustained achievement in composing scores for dance." Parkins received a 1997 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
- Something Out There (No Man's Land, 1987)
- Nightmare Alley (Table of the Elements, 1993)
- Isabelle (Disk Union, 1995)
- Mouth=Maul=Betrayer (Tzadik, 1996)
- No Way Back (Atavistic, 1998)
- Pan-Acousticon (Atavistic, 1999)
- Necklace (Tzadik, 2006)
- Between the Whiles (Table of the Elements, 2010) 
- Double Dupe Down (Tzadik, 2012)
- Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics (Good Child Music, 2016)
- Telegram (One Little Indian, 1996)
- Vespertine (One Little Indian, 2001)
- Drawing Restraint 9 (One Little Indian, 2005)
- Biophilia (One Little Indian, 2011)
With Alex Cline
With Nels Cline
- The Inkling (Cryptogramophone, 2000)
- Destroy All Nels Cline (Atavistic, 2001)
- Macroscope (Mack Avenue, 2014)
- Lovers (Blue Note, 2016)
With Fred Frith
- The Country of Blinds (Rift, 1986) as Skeleton Crew
- Step Across the Border (RecRec, 1990)
- That House We Lived In (Fred, 1991 )
- Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire (I Dischi di Angelica, 1999)
- Traffic Continues (Winter & Winter, 2000) with Ensemble Modern
- Ragged Atlas (Intakt, 2010) as Cosa Brava
- The Letter (Intakt, 2012) as Cosa Brava
With News from Babel
With Marc Ribot
With John Zorn
- Cobra (Hat Hut, 1987)
- John Zorn's Cobra: Live at the Knitting Factory (Knitting Factory, 1997)
- The Bribe (Tzadik, 1998)
With Tin Hat Trio
With Bobby Previte
- Terminals (Cantaloupe, 2014)
With Pauline Oliveros
- Presença Series #01 (Lucky Kitchen/Fundação de Serralves, 2014)
- Roulette TV: Janene Higgins & Zeena Parkins. (2001) Roulette Intermedium Inc.
- April in New York – Bobby Previte (2007)
- Zeena Parkins performer biography in Misuse... program (2007)
- Zeena Parkins at AllMusic
- Zeena Parkins: Biography, official site.
- Zeena Parkins: Works, official site.
- Zeena Parkins artist profile from P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved on June 18, 2008.
- "Wake the Dead Spring Music Series : Arch and How I See the World, #1". Location One. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- "Zeena Parkins & Janene Higgins, WRO '09 Media Art Biennale, Poland". WRO Art Center, Wroclaw, Poland.
- John Jasperse Company, Misuse liable to prosecution, program for performance October 18 – 20, 2007 at On the Boards, Seattle, Washington, a co-production with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, commissioned in part by Symphony Space (NYC).
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