Pamela Z Comes to MIT For Eugene McDermott Award In The Arts

Learn more about the upcoming events here!

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will welcome interdisciplinary artist Pamela Z this spring for a series of campus visits and performances as part of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. Ms. Z will perform selections from her work in a concert open to the public on April 19, 2023, and will present a public lecture on April 20, 2023. The $100,000 prize will be awarded during her artist residency at MIT in spring 2023. This McDermott residency builds on her prior visits to MIT in 2013 and 2016, during which she worked with students, fellow visiting artists, and other members of the campus community.

A pioneering composer, performer, and interdisciplinary artist for more than four decades, Pamela Z has toured to major festivals and venues worldwide. Her multilayered compositions are created using her voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video. She is known for using custom music technology, activated by physical gesture, to explore deeply personal themes in abstract and evocative ways.

The MIT award comes at an exciting time as Pamela Z will soon be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (May 24), and has an upcoming residency at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Kravis Studio (July 8-August 13), a performance at Tanglewood (July 9), and a residency with a workshop performance of new work at MASS MoCA (August 8-18).

Pamela Z will perform a concert at MIT on April 19 featuring early groundbreaking works to recently premiered ensemble pieces with pianist Sarah Cahill and violinist Kate Stenberg, and with conductor Evan Ziporyn. Works will include "Presence," "Summons," an improvised piece for gesture-controlled MIDI instruments, and a suite of works for solo voice and electronics. The performance will also include MIT student Sara Simpson on flute. In a lecture on April 20, Ms. Z will discuss the increasingly blurred lines between disciplines in her practice and the music technology with which she has worked. The public is welcome to reserve tickets for the public programs at

Pamela Z's residency at MIT comprises several class visits, including with individual graduate students working in music technology, as well as several with the MIT Laptop Ensemble (21M.470) exploring digital technologies in musical performance. In the class 21M.065: Introduction to Musical Composition, Ms. Z will ask students to record a moment in their everyday lives and review final compositions based upon them. Other classes she will visit include Digital Instrument Design (21M.370) and Interactive Music Systems (21M.385/6.4550).

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT recognizes innovative talents and is awarded to artists working in any field or cross-disciplinary activity. The $100,000 prize represents an investment in the recipient's future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement. The official announcement was made at the Council for the Arts at MIT's 49th annual meeting at MIT on September 30, 2022, and Pamela Z will be presented with the award at a gala in her honor on April 20, 2023. Past recipients include Thomas Heatherwick, Audra McDonald, David Adjaye, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Lepage, Gustavo Dudamel, Bill Viola, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Santiago Calatrava, among others.

Campus Residency and Public Programs

A distinctive feature of the award is a short residency at MIT, which includes a public presentation of the artist's work, substantial interaction with students and faculty, and a gala that convenes national and international leaders in the arts. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient with unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research at the Institute and to develop mutually enlightening relationships in the MIT community.


Pamela Z will present two public programs for the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT:

Concert: Pamela Z with People

April 19, 2023 / 5:30pm

MIT Media Lab Multipurpose Room
75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA, USA



An improvised work for gesture-controlled MIDI instruments

A suite of works for solo voice and electronics

Pamela Z, voice and electronics

Sarah Cahill, piano

Kate Stenberg, violin

Artist lecture: "Crossing Disciplines"

April 20, 2023 / 5pm

MIT Room 26-100
60 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA, USA

In this McDermott Award public lecture, Pamela Z will share her work and her process, and will discuss the increasingly blurred lines between disciplines in her practice.

Reserve complimentary tickets for the public programs at



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