Above photo by Robbie Sweeny
Shanna Sordahl (she/they) is a sound artist and composer based in the East Bay Area, California. 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, questioning ingrained relationships and patterns of perception while articulating unexpected processes of change. Subverting traditional approaches to music, she emphasizes timbral changes, physical friction, the resonant body of objects, unconventional playing techniques, and feedback. Drawing on themes of loss, perceptions of time, and methods of transformation, Shanna is especially inspired by the beauty of noise, discoveries from field recording, the role of ritual in performance, and adaptive, empathy based community systems.
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 views 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 Composition 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.