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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zeena Parkins
Zeena Parkins with Cosa Brava, Jazzit, Salzburg, Austria, April 5, 2008
Zeena Parkins with Cosa Brava, Jazzit, Salzburg, Austria, April 5, 2008
Background information
Born1956 (age 63–64)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
GenresExperimental, free improvisation, avant-garde
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsHarp, accordion, keyboards, omnichord
Years active1980s–present
LabelsNo Man's Land, Tzadik
Associated actsNews from Babel, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Cosa Brava, John Zorn, Ikue Mori

Zeena Parkins (born 1956) is an American harpist active in free improvisation and jazz. Parkins plays standard harps, as well as several custom electric harps; she also plays piano and accordion. She is currently a guest faculty member for composition courses at Mills College.[1][2]

Life and career

Born in 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, she studied at Bard College and moved to New York City in 1984.[2]

Her work ranges from solo performance to large ensembles. Besides standard and electric harps, her work also incorporates Foley, field recordings, analog synthesizers, samplers, oscillators and homemade instruments.[1]

She has done several solo recordings and has also recorded or performed with Björk, John Zorn (including in Cobra performances), Elliott Sharp, Ikue Mori, Butch Morris, Tin Hat Trio, Jim O'Rourke, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Lee Ranaldo, Nels Cline, Pauline Oliveros, Anthony Braxton, Matmos, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Courtney Love's band Hole and others.[1][2][3]

She has been a member of a number of experimental rock bands, including No Safety, News from Babel, Skeleton Crew and Fred Frith's review band, Keep the Dog.[4] In March 2008 she joined Frith's Cosa Brava quintet comprising Frith, Parkins, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, and The Norman Conquest.

Parkins has often worked with dance companies and choreographers, including the John Jasperse Company, Jennifer Monson, Neil Greenberg, Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh, BodyCartography Project,[5] and Jennifer Lacey, and has won a Bessie Award for "sustained achievement in composing scores for dance."[1] Parkins received a 1997 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.

She has also worked with video artist Janene Higgins[6][7] and visual artists Daria Martin, Cynthia Madansky and Mandy McIntosh.[1]


  • Something Out There (No Man's Land, 1987)
  • Nightmare Alley (Table of the Elements, 1993)
  • Isabelle (Disk Union, 1995)
  • Mouth=Maul=Betrayer (Tzadik, 1996)
  • No Way Back (Atavistic, 1998)
  • Pan-Acousticon (Atavistic, 1999)
  • Necklace (Tzadik, 2006)
  • Between the Whiles (Table of the Elements, 2010) [4]
  • Double Dupe Down (Tzadik, 2012)
  • Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics (Good Child Music, 2016)

With Björk

With Alex Cline

With Nels Cline

With Fred Frith

With Maybe Monday

With News from Babel

With Marc Ribot

With John Zorn

With Tin Hat Trio

With Bobby Previte

With Pauline Oliveros

  • Presença Series #01 (Lucky Kitchen/Fundação de Serralves, 2014)



  1. ^ a b c d e Zeena Parkins performer biography in Misuse... program (2007)
  2. ^ a b c Zeena Parkins at AllMusic
  3. ^ Zeena Parkins: Biography, official site.
  4. ^ a b Zeena Parkins: Works, official site.
  5. ^ Zeena Parkins artist profile from P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved on June 18, 2008.
  6. ^ "Wake the Dead Spring Music Series : Arch and How I See the World, #1". Location One. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  7. ^ "Zeena Parkins & Janene Higgins, WRO '09 Media Art Biennale, Poland". WRO Art Center, Wroclaw, Poland.


External links

This page was last edited on 28 September 2020, at 15:29
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