Zeena Parkins & Brian Chase at First Unitarian Congregational Society

ISSUE Project Room's Fall 2016 season opens at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights with Oren Ambarchi in solo performance, and a duo set by Zeena Parkins & Brian Chase.

Pioneering harpist and multi-instrumentalist Zeena Parkins performs a duo set with composer and drummer Brian Chase, two performers who share a focused intensity and immediate physicality. As an ensemble, their music crafts hyper-vivid portraits-in-sound which integrate the detail and subtlety of classical composition with the energy and urgency of improvisation. Their backgrounds cover an impressive range as each have worked extensively within experimental music, art, and dance contexts as well as in the rock world: Zeena with Bjork and Brian with Yeah Yeah Yeahs; this diversity is apparent in their music. Zeena and Brian have pioneered new approaches to their respective instruments and bring an attitude of innovation and discovery to their collective creative process.

Zeena Parkins in an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser and 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, preparations, and custom designed electronic processing.Her work draws on a relationship to dance, film, feminism, assemblage, architecture, urbanism, and textiles. In a circuitous path her processes employ sound travel, dispersion and transformation, tracings, list making, extended scoring tactics, historical and technical research. She challenges and embraces contradictions and perceived boundaries through a morphing of acoustic, electric and invented 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 continuous translations of sonicity within a multitude of environments both expected and surprising.

She has been commissioned by DAAD, The Whitney Museum, The Tate Modern, Sharjah Art Foundation, NeXtWorks Ensemble, Roulette Intermedium, The Donaueschinger Musiktage and Sudwestrundfunk, Bang on a Can, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and more. She has collaborated with choreographers including works with Neil Greenberg and John Jasperse, as well as with filmmakers including soundtracks for Cynthia Madansky, Daria Martin, and Abigail Child. She has performed/recorded with Bjork, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Christian Marclay, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Brian Chase, Okkyung Lee, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Matmos, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Yasunao Tone and more. She has also been awarded the Doris Duke Artist Award, Three NY Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies), DAAD Artist Fellowship, Shifting Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYFA Music Fellowship, Peter S. Reed Fellowship, Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention, and has held residencies include at Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence, Herb Alpert/Ucross Prize, DAAD/Berliner Künstlerprogramm, Civitella Ranieri/Umbertide, Oxford University/The Ruskin School, Harvestworks/NYC, and more. Parkins has also 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.

Brian Chase is a Brooklyn based drummer and composer. His diverse range of work/play includes that with rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the community of the New York improvised/experimental music scene, and Drums & Drones, an electro­acoustic project focused on applying the principles of Just Intonation to drums and percussion. Performances have taken him across the world, and he appears on many recordings spanning a broad stylistic range. In addition to drums, Brian is a regular practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga.