Creative Time

About Kamala Sankaram

Composer and performer Kamala Sankaram moves freely between the worlds of experimental music and contemporary opera. Known for her work with emerging technologies, she 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. With Opera on Tap, she created The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera (Samsung VR, Jaunt VR, Kennedy Center Reach Festival, “Best Virtual Reality Video” NY Independent Film Festival, Future of Storytelling, Salem Horror Festival, and the Topanga Film Festival). Recent commissions include works for the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the PROTOTYPE Festival, and Shakespeare Theatre Company, among others. Awards, grants, and residencies include Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, HERE Artist Residency Program, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center.
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. Other notable collaborations include 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. Ann’s Warehouse, NY, REDCAT, Los Angeles), the PROTOTYPE Festival’s THUMBPRINT (Baruch Performing Arts, NY, REDCAT, Los Angeles), and appearances with John Zorn, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and Petr Kotik, among others. Sankaram is 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. Bombay Rickey’s opera-cabaret on the life of Yma Sumac premiered in the 2016 PROTOTYPE Festival and was presented in London at Tête-à-Tête Opera’s Cubitt Sessions. Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase.