Creative Time

About Kamala Sankaram

Kamala Sankaram is a composer and performer whose work moves freely between the worlds of experimental music and contemporary opera. Sankaram pushes boundaries, and features underrepresented or surprising protagonists, and experiments with multiple technologies in her work. Emblematic of this approach, Sankaram recently premiered Only You Will Recognize the Signal, a serial space opera performed live over the internet; the techno-noir Looking at You, which featured live data mining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers; and all decisions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom and featured on NBC and the BBC3. She continues this work with The Last Stand by placing an old-growth tree center stage as her main character in her multi-layered musique concrète installation, which presents a true biophonic assemblage of both hypereal natural sounds and more abstracted loops, with layers that hint at the rhythms found in Electronic Dance Music and hip hop.
Sankaram is the recipient of many awards, grants, and residencies, some of which include Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, HERE Artist Residency Program, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center. Other projects include The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera and recent commissions include works for the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the PROTOTYPE Festival, and Shakespeare Theatre Company. Kamala is also the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble whose accolades include two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards, the 2018 Mid-Atlantic touring grant, and appearances on WFMU and NPR.A frequent collaborator with composer Anthony Braxton, she has premiered his operas Trillium E and Trillium J, as well as appearing on his 12-hour recording GTM (Syntax) 2017. Sankaram has also collaborated with Meredith Monk’s Atlas with the LA Philharmonic, The Wooster Group’s LA DIDONE (Kaaitheater, Brussels, Edinburgh International Festival, Rotterdam Schouberg, Grand Théâtre de la Ville, Luxembourg, St. Anne’s Warehouse, NY, REDCAT, Los Angeles), the PROTOTYPE Festival’s THUMBPRINT (Baruch Performing Arts, NY, REDCAT, Los Angeles), and has made appearances with John Zorn, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and Petr Kotik, among others. Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase.