Zachary James Watkins

Zachary James Watkins says: “My art investigates the rich area of resonance and it dialogues with past works, current concerns, and new directions. My works attempt to manipulate experiences and immerse the senses, bringing to the fore natural phenomena. Over time, my output has focused on site-specificity, individuals, and the economy of resources. I often attempt single-page scores–whenever possible, I write for specific individuals and rooms–and I design strategies to investigate “high vibration resonance.” I believe that sound can heal and that the conscious investigation of harmonic tunings, acoustic resonance, as well as social relationships can yield powerful experiences. Therefore, my sound works often begin with the exploration of pure interval relationships for resonant systems. These tunings investigate whole number pitch ratios known as just intonation and stem from desires to explore new harmonic territory, periodicity, composite waveforms, resonance, and texture. My affinity for rich timbres that informs many aspects of my music. I explore the harmonic series, live electronics, site-specific resonant spaces and the spatial diffusion of sound to achieve rich, saturated environments. While in Siena, I will conduct site-specific research, and observe the acoustic properties of the area to shape new works around these perceived phenomena.”

Zachary James Watkins received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College in 2006, where he studied with Chris Brown, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran and Pauline Oliveros. Zachary has received commissions from Documenta 14, the Kronos Quartet, The Living Earth Ensemble, sfsound and the Seattle Chamber Players. His 2006 composition Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition. Zachary has performed in numerous festivals across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe and his band Black Spirituals opened for pioneering drone metal band Earth during their 2015 European tour. In 2008, Zachary premiered Country Western a new multi-media work as part of the Meridian Gallery’s Composers in Performance Series, he recently completed Documentado / Undocumentado a multi-media interactive book in collaboration with Guillermo Gómez Peña, Gustavo Vasquez, Jennifer Gonzalez and Felicia Rice. His sound artwork entitled Third Floor: Designed Obsolescence “spoke as a metaphor for the breakdown of the dream of technology and the myth of our society’s permanence,” (Susan Noyes Platt, ARTLIES). Zachary releases music on the labels Sige, Cassauna, Confront (UK), The Tapeworm and Touch (UK), Novembre Magazine (DE), ITCH (ZA), Walrus Press and the New York Miniature Ensemble have published his writings and scores. Zachary has been an artist in resident at the Espy Foundation, Djerassi and the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Photo Anthony Russell