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Composer Paul Pinto creates, performs and produces experimental music and theatrical works, primarily focused innovative and engaging new form of opera-theater that fuse the musicality of American speech, poetry, classical music, extended vocal techniques and electronic sound art. He is a founding member of the acclaimed collectives Varispeed and thingNY, and his music has been performed across the U.S. and internationally with and by ensembles, performers and presenters around the world, including Joan La Barbara, Pauline Oliveros, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ne(x)tworks, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, loadbang, wildUP!, The Industry in LA, The Royal Scottish Academy Chamber Chorus, the Carnegie Mellon Concert Chorus, New Thread Saxophone Quartet, Iktus Percussion, BRIC Arts, The Whitney Biennial, The Kitchen, Roulette, Experiments in Opera, the Panoply Performance Laboratory and Performa.
His recent work as a composer, collaborator, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has been praised in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, NewMusicBox and Time Out New York. With his performance collective, Varispeed, Paul created a new site-specific arrangement of Robert Ashley's seminal opera for television, Perfect Lives, which made TONY's "Best of 2011" List and was praised by the Times' as one of the "standout operas of recent decades".
For years, Paul has been an advocate of underrepresented experimentalists in the classical music concert halls, particularly Julius Eastman and Robert Ashley, and has worked to diversify modern opera both in casting, and in form and style. Paul has chosen to work equally with traditional instruments and vocalists, lo-fi electronics, unconventional sound-makers and amateur musicians, creating one-minute opera, concert length chamber music, and durational performance art. At the helm of thingNY, Paul has premiered hundreds of works from emerging and established composers including Pauline Oliveros, Vinko Globokar, Art Jarvinen, John King, Kyle Gann and Gerard Grisey. With thingNY, he co-created and performed the operas ADDDDDDDDD (2008), TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts (2011), Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment (2013) and This Takes Place Close By (2015). Of their latest work, the new music journal I Care If You Listen writes “rarely, if ever, [have I] seen an encyclopedic array of experimental effects so intimately linked with their expressive potential."
As a vocalist, Paul has performed in the U.S. and Asia in untraditional chamber music works and experimental and improvisatory creations, including the 5-octave lead role in Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King, in John Sanborn and Dorian Wallace's video opera, Temptation of St. Anthony, and originating the Broadway role of Balaga in Dave Malloy and Rachel Chavkin's hit musical, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Scenes from his ballet, Miseke are available on DVD and CD through the educational UK label, Learning and Teaching Scotland. In addition to thingNY's comic book opera release ADDDDDDDDD and their latest LP minis/Trajectories, Paul has self-released four albums: The Gentlemen (2009), a suite for vocals and electronics, Every Note on the Piano (2010), NUDES: live at the Mary Benson Gallery (2010), and For Stefanos Tsigrimanis (2011) an elegy for turntables, voice, guitar and electronics. His scores have been published by Deep Listening Publications.
Paul is a recipient of several awards and grants from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New Music USA, Chamber Music America, The Puffin Foundation, and is currently in residence at the HERE Arts Center, where he is developing a new electronic opera for 2017, Thomas Paine in Violence.
Thomas Paine in Violence (2017)
a psychedelic opera about the afterlife of the American Patriot... in space
libretto by Paul Pinto and Rick Burkhardt
9 vocalists, vn, vc, hp, pno, electronics
a series of compositions for various chamber ensembles of speaking/singing instrumentalists
for three female singers and electronics, video by Matthew Bernard
Unintelligible Response (2014)
for singers and 4 singing instrumentalists (hp, pno, vn, vc), lyrics by Paul Pinto and Rick Burkhardt
Hack It! (2014)
This takes place close by (2015)
an opera by thingNY, directed by Ashley Tata
"...with laser focus; while, maybe, a little syringe...; When I'm done with this one, I'm done fer good." (2014)
Agnus Dei (Sheep to the Slaughter) (2013)
3 sopranos + any number of accompanying singers
Music for Empty Words (2012)
a work by John Cage, interpreted and arranged by Varispeed
The Good Person of Szechwan (2012)
music for the play by Brecht, for singers, strings, percussion and cello
Perfect Lives (2011-)
an opera by Robert Ashley, arranged by Varispeed
Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young (2011)
TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts (2010-11)
by thingNY and Panoply Performance Laboratory
anyone's story (2010)
for amateur SATB chorus
for multiple drumsets
Music for Your Living Room (2010-11)
for solo Bb clarinet + installation (large scroll score, bamboo, twine)
For Stefanos Tsigrimanis (2010)
for solo performer, two portable turntables, vocalist, guitar and electronics
sax concerto (2009)
saxophone soloist and six non-sax players playing saxophones
My Super Special Recital (2008)
multi-instrumentalist + 3 accompanists (any instruments or non-musicians)
g3db.Did0 (goodbye, Dido) (2008/2013)
baritone, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone
"hands... my hands" (2007, rev. 2013)
voice, electronics and unspecified instruments
Music to accompany the slow painful death of (2006)
singers, unspecified instruments, drum kit
ballet for chamber orchestra
1984: Images for Orchestra (2004)
3-2-3-3; 4-3-3-1; timp, 4 perc, pno; str
Robert Ashley - Crash
Lovely Music CD 5001
thingNY - minis/Trajectories
Music of Paul Pinto and Erin Rogers
mini_001, mini_002, mini_003, mini_004, mini_005, mini_008, mini_009, mini_011
Gold Bolus 024 [digital download, CD, LP]
Paul Pinto - For Stefanos Tsigrimanis
self-release [digital download]
Paul Pinto - The Gentlemen
self-release [digital download]
thingNY - ADDDDDDDDD
self-release [CD + comic book]
animal nudity - NUDES
Stefanos Tsigrimanis + Paul Pinto
self-release [digital download]
thingNY - Thing Tank: : : : (live at)
Music to Accompany the Slow Painful Death of
self-release [digital download]
Dave Malloy - Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
original cast recording
Sh-K-Boom [digital download, CD]
loadbang - Monodramas
g3db.Did0 (goodbye, Dido)
Analog Arts [digital download, CD]
Robert Ashley - Perfect Lives Catskills Arranged by Varispeed, video by Matthew Bernard
Mount Tremper Arts [digital video]
Panoply Performance Laboratory - The Transformational Grammar of the Institutional Glorybowl Part III: Institute_Institut
Gold Bolus 010 [digital download, CD]
"A composer and performer of astounding talent. He is one of those musicians who apparently can do anything"
-Robert Ashley, composer
"singing with a cult-leader-magnetism"
"Riveting... feisty, profane and profound"
"Face it! This is why you live in New York."
-Time Out New York
"...as avant-garde as anything I've seen recently - by which term I inexactly mean that it was more focused on how we live at this exact moment than on the traditional conventions of concert-giving."
-Kyle Gann, PostClassical
"bashing the boundaries of concert music and and gargling out social commentary in a way that can only be described as that thing." -The Weekly Dig (Boston)
Perfect Lives Manhattan
"Staged by performance-art cabal Varispeed in public and private spaces throughout the Village and Soho, this live version of Robert Ashley's seminal multimedia opera was punky and profound, showing that innovation has less to do with bottomless budgets than with vision and spirit."
-Time Out New York ["Best of 2011"]
"The Varispeed production, presented as part of the Performa 11 festival, was less an act of rescuing a work from oblivion than one of repurposing its materials to unleash latent potential, while remaining faithful to its textural integrity and structural rigor. That Varispeed's members could express themselves so readily through Mr. Ashley's work while remaining faithful to it was impressive."
-The New York Times
ADDDDDDDDD: an opera by thingNY
"ADDDDDDDDD takes rapid-fire, largely spoken-word lyrical content and plays it out across a pulseraising background constructed of sonic accents like dinging bells and remote control channel changing-- multiple streams of content flashing by at warp speed. Even in its audio-only CD release format, it's somehow all consuming. I bet no one feels the urge to check their email during a live performance. ADDDDDDDDD is packaged with a fun, quirky, comic book libretto. A lovely item that takes the album a step beyond the usual CD release, it makes the physical object in the digital age an interesting piece of art in and of itself, worthy of shelf space and providing plenty of additional visual stimulation."
TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts "...this thoughtful work explores each moment to the fullest. It also has a most stunning performance book of the program, script, score, and production notes that is well worth a donation. The deft mixing of video, music, and word-play allows audience members to take in whatever they wish, along with ideas on making use of their own time."
For Stefanos Tsigrimanis
"Excellent. I loved the honesty about it.... Definitely get your hands on the recorded version."
-Douglas Laustsen, WRSU