Zeena Parkins

Updated
30 Nov 2016

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Zeena Parkins. Photo by Peter B. Kaars.

Zeena Parkins is a pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance. She has built one-of-a-kind electric harps and has extended the language of the acoustic harp with unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of electronic processing. Parkins’ compositions have been commissioned by Ne(x)tworks Ensemble, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Roulette Intermedium, the Eclipse Quartet, William Winant, Bang on a Can, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, and Montalvo Arts Center, among others. Her collaborations are extensive and cross-disciplinary, with choreographers Jennifer Monson, DD Dorvillier, Neil Greenberg, and Jennifer Lacey; filmmakers Cynthia Madansky and Daria Martin; and musicians Björk, Fred Frith, Yoko Ono, Butch Morris, Christian Marclay, and Maja Ratkje. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Composition (2019) and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2014) and has received grants from National Performance Network Creation Fund (2012), MAP Fund (2011, 2005, 2004), and the French-American Jazz Exchange (2010). Parkins served as a Pew Fellowships panelist in 2021 and 2016 and a Center LOI panelist in Performance in 2018 and 2014.