Studio Sound

Suzanne Ciani and Sarah Davachi

Sep 7–17, 2023


Detail of Suzanne Ciani’s Buchla 200e Series electronic music instrument. Courtesy the artist
  • MoMA, Floor 4, Studio The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio

Studio Sound is a performance series that champions artists and musicians whose work engages new possibilities for sound and music. Exploring auditory art forms through both live and recorded performance, the program suggests an expanded history of art in which sound plays a more central role. The inaugural presentation of Studio Sound presents Suzanne Ciani and Sarah Davachi—two composers of different generations working with innovative music technologies.

Often referred to as the “Diva of the Diode,” composer Suzanne Ciani is a pioneer of electronic music. She is known for her revelatory creations on an instrument called the Buchla, which revolutionized sonic experimentation when it was developed in 1964. Over her decades-long career, Ciani has used the Buchla to compose New Age electronic music and innovative commercial sound design. In the Kravis Studio, Ciani will perform Improvisation on Four Sequences on the Buchla 200e. Presented in quadraphonic sound, the work incorporates a spatial sound experience into her musical composition.

Sarah Davachi is a Canadian experimental composer and performer who creates immersive, layered drones using a wide range of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, including organs, strings, brass, and synthesizers. Continuing a lineage of minimalist composers such as Éliane Radigue, Tony Conrad, and La Monte Young, her works expand the human perception of sound through subtle variations of harmonic structures, exploring overtone complexity, intonation, and natural resonance. At MoMA, Davachi will present performances of new electroacoustic works that challenge listeners’ temporal experience of sound, including Long Gradus, a long-form composition for chamber ensemble, and Brass Chant, a work for brass trio and electronic drones. She will also premiere Music for a Bellowing Room—a new durational solo electronic work—as a live, daytime installation with video by Dicky Bahto.

Suzanne Ciani Improvisation on Four Sequences
Thursday, September 7, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, September 8, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, September 8, 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 10, 2:00 p.m., followed by a conversation with the artist

Sarah Davachi
Thursday, September 14, 8:00 p.m. Long Gradus
Friday, September 15, 8:00 p.m. Brass Chant
Sunday, September 17, 1:00 p.m. Music for a Bellowing Room, followed by a conversation with the artist

Organized by Martha Joseph, The Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Assistant Curator of Media and Performance, with May Makki, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance. Produced by Kate Scherer, Senior Manager and Producer, with Jessie Gold, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs.

The exhibition is presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series.

Major support is provided by the Sarah Arison Endowment Fund for Performance and by the Wallis Annenberg Director's Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.



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