Shanna Sordahl (she/they) is a sound artist and composer based in Oakland, CA. Using amplified cello with analog and digital electronics and installation art as her primary mediums, Shanna’s work is a continual exploration of one's relationship to both sound and physical spaces. She emphasizes timbral changes, the resonant body of objects, and the re-contextualization of sound through the use of unconventional playing techniques, feedback, and audience immersion. Drawing on themes of loss, perceptions of time, and transformation, she is especially inspired by healing social justice practices, landscapes and their histories of use, and the role of ritual in performance. Shanna strives to create sonic and physical spaces that induce a focused state of awareness, where one is encouraged to reflect on or reconsider their relationship to sound, people, spaces, and ultimately, ideas.
Their current focuses include a fascination with blurring the lines between performance spaces and installation to emphasize the transformative potential of these events. Seeing intricate connections between the experience of music and day to day life, Shanna cannot separate music from its social implications and lived realities. They view sound immersion and performance as methods for processing and re-contextualizing past experiences while simultaneously imagining and creating new possibilities for the future.
With an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, Shanna has studied composition with Laetitia Sonami, Chris Brown, James Fei, and Matt Rogalsky. She has performed and worked with a variety of composers and artists including Alvin Lucier, Trimpin, Wrekmeister Harmonies, and Sarah Davachi, and with the choreography collectives Wax Poet(s) and Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations. Her work has been presented at the 2013 International SuperCollider Convention and in 2015 she was awarded the Paul Dresher Artist Residency. In addition to solo material, their most active collaboration is as the duo SO AR with percussionist Robert Lopez.