Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based performance musician and composer who makes modern music using voice and electronic processing. In her solo performances, she combines harmonic and rhythmic patterns created from fragments of her voice trapped in digital delay loops with melodic lines and spoken texts.These are sometimes accompanied by gestural movement, electric guitar, or non-traditional, found percussion instruments such as a slinky, hammer handles, or a water bottle.
She has a wide vocal range and employs a diverse array of styles from operatic "Bel Canto" to extended techniques using non-verbal sounds. Although she specializes in New Music, she also performs pieces from earlier periods, and her own work often straddles that ever blurring line between avant garde classical music and more popular categories of experimental modern music.
Pamela Z has done solo performances in Bay Area clubs, theater spaces, and galleries since 1984 and has done numerous tours including several east coast appearances during the past three years.
She has done live and recorded vocal work for other composers, and has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film and video artists.
Pamela Z, along with composer Donald Swearingen, has produced five multi-media/ multi-artist events in the annual series "Z Programs" in which her own work has been featured along with that of other artists doing experimental work in various genres.
She regularly composes for THE QUBE CHIX an interdisciplinary ensemble comprised of herself, vocalist Julie Queen, and choreographer Leigh Evans.
She has done several concerts and experimental theater pieces with NEW MUSIC THEATRE and sings soprano with THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY CHORUS.
She is currently developing a new solo work ("Parts of Speech") utilizing a MIDI controller called The BodySynth which allows the performer to trigger sounds with gestures.
Pamela Z holds a music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
"Pamela Z's art is indeed out of the ordinary..." -Derk Richardson THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN 4/24/91
"...She had tremendous power at her disposal...It's hard to believe she'd never played New York before. She's too funny, inventive, and talented to keep a secret." -Kyle Gann THE VILLAGE VOICE 12/4/90
"Her superb, multi-octave voice ranges from the guttural depths to operatic soaring...She proves a solo performer with minimal equipment and lots of creativity can still startle and surprise an audience." -Nancy Clegg WESTWORD (Denver) 7/18-24/90
"ZED's monster release is the wonderful Echolocation by SF avant Diva, Pamela Z. Using such simple techniques as multiple delay lines and multi-tracking, Ms. Z created lustrous sonic landscapes using her highly trained vocal cords." -Richard Kadrey S.F. CHRONICLE (WHOLE EARTH CATALOG) 2/21/91
"Her big, round voice goes with a comely face and a dancer's poise, and gives the music a lively context that cassette tapes could not manifest." -Calvin Ahlgren S.F. CHRONICLE (Datebook "Pink Section") 10/15/89
"Her compelling stage presence and intense performance style are part of her pull, but it's more than that...Pamela Z creates evocative performances that have the ring of poetry." -Liz Sizensky S.F. WEELKY 11/15/89
"Pamela Z('s) rich, elastic voice gliding seamlessly through varied shades of echo, loops, and digital delay, has a striking and original effect." - Dino DiMuro OPTION MAGAZINE 9-10/88
"Pamela Z transports us...She's leagues to the left of Rap, miles above Pop and she's turned opera inside out." -John Shirley MONDO 2000 (issue #4) Summer '91
"s'Forever and Sunsmell,' an e.e. cummings setting from 1942 (was) delivered with characteristic vibrancy by singer Pamela Z -Joshua Kosman THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (9/6/93)
"I really enjoyed your tape." -Brian Eno OPAL RECORDS 9/20/90