Zeena Parkins’ new LP Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics will be released by Good Child Music January 27th, 2017. A sought-after collaborator, Zeena Parkins has worked with Björk, John Zorn, Nels Cline, Yoko Ono, Matmos, So Percussion, and Thurston Moore among many others. A translation of the music written for her 2008 collaboration with choreographer Neil Greenberg entitled Really Queer Dance With Harps, Three Harps transforms her original improvised score into a stand alone, composed piece anchored in Zeena’s pioneering use of “extended technique.”


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.

Commissions include: 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, The Eclipse Quartet, Either/Or Ensemble, Ensemble Son, William Winant, and Montalvo Arts Center; Supported by Meet the Composer Commission, NYSCA Composer Commission, Multi-Arts Production Fund Grant, American Music Center, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Arts International.

Her collaboration with choreographers include: Neil Greenberg, John Jasperse, Jennifer Monson, Jennifer Lacey, DD Dorvillier, and Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh, Miro Dance Theater and Body Cartography Project. Collaborations with filmmakers include soundtracks for Cynthia Madansky, Daria Martin, Abigail Child

Performed/recorded with: Bjork, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Christian Marclay, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Tony Buck, William Winant, Magda Mayas, Rova Sax Quartet, Maja Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Brian Chase, Jim Black, Nate Wooley, Bobby Previte, Chris Cutler, Mark Stewart, Nels Cline, Mick Barr, James Fei, Okkyung Lee, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo, Matmos, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Yasunao Tone and So Percussion.  

Awards include: 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.

Residencies include: Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in- Resdience, Herb Alpert/Ucross Prize, DAAD/Berliner Künstlerprogramm, Civitella Ranieri/Umbertide, Oxford University/The Ruskin School, Harvestworks/NYC, Steim/Amsterdam, and Montalvo/California. Parkins has 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.