Paul Pinto

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The Quince Vocal Ensemble has asked me to develop a new serial music theatre work for four female voices (and live vocal processing) to perform in Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago and New York, and to record and release in an episodic manner. A sort of stream-of-conscious fantastical story about the members of the quartet, the first draft of the libretto for the three episodes is completed, and would use the residency to continue to write the text for five-seven more episodes.

LONG BEFORE I DANCE UNDER THOSE LIGHTS is a new boxing opera, commissioned and performed by Iktus Percussion, set for a quartet of percussionists and boxers. Currently three rounds at three minutes each, the full work will be an overture, 13 three-minute rounds and 12 minute-long instrumental interludes. The boxers and percussionists sing and beat objects in rhythms reflected in the gym and ring, reflecting on masculinity, chauvinism, aging, injury and the parallels between art and sport. I will use the residency to write, orchestrate and make parts for three more rounds.

15 PHOTOS is a set of songs for soloist and drone instrument, and is meant to be a accompanying composition for the extended technique vocalist in Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1969 composition EIGHT SONGS FOR A MAD KING. Originally drafted when I was rehearsing the part of the Mad King, I drew on this series of photographs by Aleks Karjaka, as well as some stories, poems and essays I was reading at the time all centered on aging. Unlike a lot of my other compositional work, I’m composing the 15 PHOTOS through improvisation, performance and recording. With two songs finished, I hope to write and record at least three more.

For the last year, I have been performing as an actor and singer in a Broadway musical. And while challenging and fruitful in its own way, this opportunity has been a deviation from my focus as a composer and creator of my own work. I immediately go into premiering a new opera with Joan La Barbara called THOMAS PAINE IN VIOLENCE and then intend to “reset” and prioritize the creation of new work at ComPeung.


Paul Pinto creates and produces experimental music and theatrical works in traditional and non-traditional spaces, and is the founder and co-director of ensembles thingNY and Varispeed. His own compositions blend chamber music and theatre with a focus the human voice, the musicality of speech, and the endurance of the human body. Paul has chosen to work equally with traditional instruments, lo-fi electronics, unconventional sound-makers and amateur musicians, creating everything from one-minute opera, concert length chamber music, and durational performance art.

His recent work has focused on new experimental opera. With thingNY, Paul co-wrote and performed the operas ADDDDDDDDD, TIME: A COMPLETE EXPLANATION IN THREE PARTS, and JEFF YOUNG AND PAUL PINTO, PATRIOTS…, and THIS TAKES PLACE CLOSE BY. With Varispeed, Paul created and produced the acclaimed site-specific version of Robert Ashley’s PERFECT LIVES, and has performed in the Kitchen’s remounting of Ashley’s 1967 opera THAT MORNING THING and his last opera, CRASH, at the 2014 Whitney Biennial and Roulette. Paul also led the New York premiere of Vinko Globokar’s UN JOUR COMME UN AUTRE, and has developed and performed in new works presented with Joan La Barbara, Pauline Oliveros, Dave Malloy, Rachel Chavkin, Mt. Tremper Arts, The BBC Scottish Symphony, The Pittsburgh Festival of New Music, BRIC Arts, Iktus Percussion, Experiments in Opera, Roulette Intermedium, Ecstatic Music Festival, and Performa.

Paul is currently an artist-in-residence at HERE in New York where he will premiere the psychedelic electronic opera, THOMAS PAINE IN VIOLENCE in November 2017. He has just released an album of his compositions for thingNY, MINIS/TRAJECTORIES, on Gold Bolus Recordings. Paul is currently making his Broadway debut in the original cast of NATASHA, PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812.