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Studio Sound: Suzanne Ciani and Sarah Davachi

September 07, 2023 – September 17, 2023

The Museum of Modern Art

Studio Sound is a performance series that champions artists and musicians whose work engages new possibilities for sound and music. Exploring auditory art forms through both live and recorded performance, the program suggests an expanded history of art in which sound plays a more central role. The inaugural presentation of Studio Sound brings together Suzanne Ciani and Sarah Davachi—two ambient musicians of different generations working with innovative music technologies.

Often referred to as the “Diva of the Diode,” Suzanne Ciani is a pioneer of electronic music, and is known for her revelatory creations on a modular synthesizer called the Buchla, which revolutionized sonic experimentation when it was developed in 1964. Over her decades-long career, Ciani has used the Buchla to compose New Age electronic music and innovative commercial sound design. In the Kravis Studio, Ciani will perform Improvisation on Four Sequences on the Buchla 200e. Presented in quadraphonic sound, her work incorporates a spatial sound experience into her musical composition.

Sarah Davachi is a Canadian experimental composer and performer who creates immersive, layered drones using a wide range of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, including organs, strings, brass, and synthesizers. Continuing a lineage of minimalist composers such as Éliane Radigue, Tony Conrad, and La Monte Young, her works expand the human perception of sound through subtle variations of considered harmonic structures, exploring overtone complexity, intonation, and natural resonance. At MoMA, Davachi will present evening performances of new electroacoustic works that challenge listeners’ temporal experience of sound, including Long Gradus, a long-form composition for chamber ensemble. She will also premiere a new durational solo electronic work as a live, daytime installation.

Organized by Martha Joseph, The Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Assistant Curator of Media and Performance, with May Makki, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance. Produced by Kate Scherer, Manager and Producer. 

The Kravis Studio programs are presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series.

Major support is provided by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Director’s Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.

Generous funding is provided by the Lonti Ebers Endowment for Performance and the Sarah Arison Endowment Fund for Performance.



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Suzanne Ciani. Photo by Bertha DocHouse

Suzanne Ciani. RMBA Buchla Concert. 2016. Photo by Maria Jose Govea

Sarah Davachi. Photo by Dicky Bahto