Shawn Onsgard

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Brooklyn is home now, but I was born in Wisconsin (1975) and spent my childhood there. I still identify with its wild and pastoral landscapes, and progressive rural cultures. I learned my first song on the piano, "Boogie Woogie", from my aunt and grandmother at age 7 and started the process of integrating instrumental and composed music into my exploration of sound. Through composition and performance I seek an epistemology in music practice which might inform new and meaningful life experiences. I'm currently developing an improvisatory solo piano repertoire that explores imbalanced harmonic structures inspired by Alexander Scriabin and Vijay Iyer. When not at the piano, I compose for all sound-producing things from ice cream trucks, to hundred meter piano wires, to snoring grandparents, and everything in between exploring politics, metaphor, narrative, and perception of space through sound. My work has been performed and exhibited internationally, and I have worked with composers such as Anthony Braxton and Alvin Lucier; film makers Pierre Huyghe, and Jane & Louise Wilson; choreographer Mollie O'Brien; and media artists Aaron Davidson & Melissa Dubbin, and Woody Vasulka. I have received grants from Meet the Composer, NYSCA Independent Media Artist award, NYFA Special Opportunity Stipend; and I received my MA in experimental music composition from Wesleyan University, CT, in 2001.