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Artist Statement

Biographical Information



Azul Cielo (Sky Blue) Day 4

Founded in 1997 by composer Michelle Nagai, the work of Treetheater Projects is to nurture meaningful creative relationships between people and the places they inhabit. Treetheater strives to achieve this by engaging participants in conscious acts of sound, art, dance, theater and media inspired by the environments of their own communities and homes. The creation of new work for radio, television, digital media, theater and public performance is at the heart of Treetheater's grass roots mission to enliven communities with the spirit of self-inquiry, exploration and local ingenuity.

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Artist Statement
My work as a composer is not different from my work as a human being. I am intrigued by sound, by light and color, by movement and sensory input. The actions of sentient beings caught in the act of survival - the mundane and the extraordinary - are primary sources of creative inspiration. I am moved by place, by ritual, by the desire to be "of somewhere" and by the motion toward aliveness that art can cause in its recipient.

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Biographical Info
Michelle Nagai is an electroacoustic composer, performance artist and improviser whose interdisciplinary approach utilizes a myriad of physical and aural elements in the creation of site-specific performances, radio broadcasts and installations. Ideas grounded in the theories and practices of acoustic ecology, cultural geography, Deep Listening© and expressive therapy play a large role in shaping her creative activities.

In addition to recent electronic music compositions for CD and radio, Michelle's catalog of works includes numerous compositions that feature live acoustic performance, natural environments, costume objects, found objects, dance, theater, sculpture and video.  Her work has been supported by the American Composers Forum, Harvestworks, The Jerome Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Meet the Composer and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

A graduate of Bennington College, located in rural Vermont, Michelle has had the opportunity to study with composers John Luther Adams, Joel Chadabe, Bun Ching Lam, Allen Shawn and Yung Wha Son as well as video/installation artist Tony Carruthers and sculptor Sue Rees. Significant influences since that time include composers Pauline Oliveros, R. Murray Schaffer, Hildegard Westerkamp and La Monte Young and light artist Marian Zazeela.

Michelle Nagai has worked closely with artists from a range of creative disciplines, including DD Dorvillier, Jenifer Monson and Daria Fain (dance), Peter Jacobs (theater), Thomas Dunn (light) and Anthony Cafritz (sculpture).  Her sound, movement and costume design collaborations have been featured in NYC at Chashama, The Kitchen, PS 122, Judson Church and Dancespace, in Boston at Mobius and at other venues throughout the US and Canada.

As an improviser on the double bass, Michelle has played in ensembles led by Aurthur Brooks, Daniel Carter, Charles Gayle, Raphe Malik and Sabir Mateen and has performed in numerous NYC venues including the Cooler, CBGBs Gallery, ABC No Rio, Collective Unconscious, Galapagos and The Matzoh Factory. After a brief tenure in the anarchy/noise group the Rats she joined with Craig Flanagin and other members from God is My Co-Pilot to form the short-lived trip-hop ensemble Bait & Switch and later Accao Total, with Flanigan, Manuel Mota on guitar and Margarida Garcia, also on double bass.

Active as an educator and sound ecologist, Michelle has facilitated workshops, talks and events for adults, high school and college age students in soundwalking and listening practices, multimedia performance, improvisation and costume design. Nagai is a founding member of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE) and co-chair of the NY Chapter of the ASAE (NYSAE). She is also one of a small group of artists selected by the Brooklyn-based transmission arts collective free103point9 to represent that organization in festivals, performances and conferences throughout the world. 

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1974 and transplanted to New England in the blizzard of 1978, Michelle Nagai currently makes her home in Brooklyn, New York.

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List of Contributors
The following individuals and organizations have contributed time, money, emotional support, physical resources and personal genius toward the launch of Treetheater Projects' first endeavor: EC(h)OLOCATOR. Warm thanks especially to all who responded to the spring 2003 fundraiser...

James Bailey
Brad Berger
Marika Blossfeldt
Thom Bogdan
Willa Carroll
David Choi
Eric Cohen
Carrie Cross
Bill Dorvillier
Deanna Dorvillier
DD Dorvillier
William Dorvillier
Domestic Arts
Victoria Fenner
Amanda Gustafson
Luke Iwabuchi
Peter Jacobs
Madelyn Kent
Lisa Kuneman
Jennifer Monson
Kenta Nagai
Jessica Peck
Garth Rennie
Miranda Syp
Quick Qilliam Inc.
Jessica Reeves-Cohen
Charles Rossell
Celia Twomey
Rebecca Westphal
Chris Zapalla

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