the work of art is the art of work.
LIFE AND WORK - A BIT ABOUT LUISA
I consider myself a "Field Worker".
Working in and within an energy field not visible to the eye. My work is about uncovering the unseen and unheard in its raw form, through the sonic and physical exploration of space. Surrender to the very moment, trust, and listening are a central part of each journey.
"Luisa Muhr's voice is remarkably striking." – Free Jazz Collective
"...lovely, soaring flights in voice..." – New York City Jazz Record
"...her lustrous vocalese is a trip!" – New York Music Daily/Lucid Culture
"... a phonetic exercise by artist Luisa Muhr showing the interconnectedness of language" – I CARE IF YOU LISTEN
"I love your work, Luisa!" – Meredith Monk
"She's a word-genius!" – Arturo O'Farrill
"... incredible and indispensable!" – Shelley Hirsch
"Wonderful! Marvelous!" – Austin Pendleton
"She's got a reality going right there!" – Stephen McKinley Henderson
"Luisa can play it all!" – Daniel Davis
Luisa Muhr is an interdisciplinary vocalist and art-maker, with a focus on vocal and movement art. Her range includes her capacity as a performer, improvisor, installation artist, sound artist, composer, director, and experimental theater maker.
Originally from Vienna (Austria), Luisa speaks multiple languages, has Hungarian and Anatolian-Greek roots, and is the proud great-granddaughter of a Socialist Holocaust-survivor. She lives and works in New York, and finds a home in the experimental/avant-garde. Her creations range from interdisciplinary installation performance works, experimental and music theater pieces, improvised music and movement, graphic scores and compositions, to video works, and opera.
Luisa is also the creator and curator of New York's leading interdisciplinary womxn/non-binary artists series Women Between Arts at The New School (College of Performing Arts) and a member of the free improv band PlayField (577 Records), the audio-visual collective Dilate Ensemble, the online NowNet Arts Lab Ensemble, and the vocal-movement ensemble Constellation Chor.
She has been commissioned to create new works by the Austrian Cultural Forum, as well as Roulette Intermedium, where she premiered her interdisciplinary piece "Babəl" in June 2021, which also received a grant by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Collaborations include: Tania Chen, Kenneth Goldsmith, Shelley Hirsch, Arturo O’Farrill, Jenny Romaine, Peter Schumann, Kenny Wollesen, John Zorn, and through Constellation Chor: Claire Chase, Sarah Hennies, Ashley Fure, and the New York Philharmonic.
Residencies include: Pioneer Works (Music), Chulitna Lodge in Alaska, Rockefeller Pocantico Center (with Arturo O’Farrill), CounterPulse San Francisco (with Dilate Ensemble), and Judson Church (as part of Constellation Chor).
Noteworthy venues Luisa performed at include: Lincoln Center, The Getty Museum, Pioneer Works, Roulette Intermedium, National Sawdust, Rockefeller Center, The Austrian Cultural Forum NY, Jewish Museum, The Kitchen, Queens Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, The Stone, Park Avenue Armory, Judson Memorial Church, Queenslab, The Albright Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Kunstbetrieb and Rhiz (Vienna, Austria), and various others.
With her band PlayField Luisa is signed on the record label 577 Records.
Additionally, Luisa is a certified Deep Listening® Practitioner (by the Center for Deep Listening after Pauline Oliveros), is currently teaching at The New School, College of Performing Arts, as a capstone advisor, and has taught Vocal Improvisation and Deep Listening at Pioneer Works and as a guest lecturer in Arturo O'Farrill's Global Jazz Studies class at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
Her primary focus is the art and exploration of voice, sound, and movement in space, often working with fellow-musicians in an experimental, ritualesque setting, exploring the relationship between sonic and physical movement (what she refers to as "field work").
ABOUT THE WORK, COLLABORATIONS & MORE
During the COVID-19 pandemic Luisa has been actively performing online on a regular basis and was commissioned by various venues and institutions, such as Roulette Intermedium, Collar Works art gallery and the Austrian Cultural Forum NY/Undercurrent NYC art gallery, to create new works live and virtually.
As part of the band PlayField, with Daniel Carter (Horns and Reeds), Luisa Muhr (Voice), Ayumi Ishito (Sax), Eric Plaks (Nord piano), Aron Namenwirth (Guitar), Yutaka Takahashi (Guitar), Zach Swanson (Bass), Jon Panikkar (Drums), their street album trilogy has been released through their label 577 Records, with a studio recording to be released in March 2023.
For previous performances/installations/exhibitions own works and collaborations please go to Work.
Luisa is currently writing and developing a new opera with six-time Grammy winner Arturo O'Farrill.
Luisa is also a core member of Marisa Michelson's Constellation Chor vocal-movement ensemble.
In September 2018 she performed as part of Constellation Chor at Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall, with the New York Philharmonic, premiering Ashley Fure's work Filament. Residencies include Pioneer Works, Judson Memorial Church, Spectrum Brooklyn, and Dragon's Egg.
The audio-visual band Dilate Ensemble, which Luisa is a part of, was founded by visual artist Carole Kim (California) in the summer of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other members are multi-instrumentalist Gloria Damijan (Vienna, Austria), electronic artist Scott L. Miller (Minnesota), and saxophonist Jon Raskin (California). The collective met online and has been practicing and recording this way throughout the pandemic. Dilate Ensemble has been awarded an artist residency at CounterPulse (San Francisco) from late 2021 to early 2022 and is constantly developing new works.
In May 2020 Luisa joined composer Sarah Weaver's NowNet Arts Lab Ensemble, which works internationally in producing and presenting non-commercial contemporary network arts works, technologies, education programs, and publications for the education of the public. The Ensemble offered weekly performances during quarantine time and monthly performances beyond.
In June 2018 Luisa collaborated with Arturo O'Farrill on his piece Borderless where she helped him set the words to the music and created the made-up sounds that are used in the piece. The song had its premiere at the Merkin Hall Kaufman Music Center in NYC and was performed by the Young People's Chorus of New York. Another performance at Merkin Hall followed in November 2018. Luisa is also credited on O'Farrill's record Fandango at the Wall (2018).
As a vocalist Luisa performs in English, Yiddish, German, made-up languages, and sounds. Instruments she has been exploring with are: harp, theremin, guitar, taishogoto, piano, drums, percussion, and objects.
In April 2018 Luisa was a guest speaker at PEN World Voices: International Play Festival at CUNY to talk about Elfriede Jelinek's work.
THE BIRTH OF WOMEN BETWEEN ARTS (soon to be BETWEEN THE ARTS)
With the encouragement of John Zorn and the support of Executive Dean of The New School of Performing Arts, Richard Kessler, Luisa started curating her own series Women Between Arts at The New School, Glass Box Theatre in NYC in October 2017, to feature interdisciplinary womxn and non-binary artists and create a platform for further dialogue between different art disciplines. It has since been New York's leading interdisciplinary womxn and non-binary artists series. The series is currently on hold and its future will soon to be determined.
DIRECTING, TEACHING & HEALING
Luisa has directed multiple performances around the world in countries like Austria, South Africa, Canada, and the United States.
She has been a teacher of vocal improvisation and Deep Listening®, as well as a guest lecturer at UCLA (Global Jazz department, through Arturo O'Farrill), is currently working at The New School, College of Performing Arts, as a capstone advisor, and has worked as a performing arts teacher (acting, voice/singing, dancing/movement) at Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, Stagecoach Theatre Art Schools in Montreal, the w@lz School in Vienna (Austria), and Masibambane College in Johannesburg (South Africa).
Luisa also developed the program German Through Music and Movement at United Nations International School (German School) and has additionally been a private acting, speech, public speaking, vocal, movement, and German instructor for several years.
In March 2020 Luisa was planned to give a talk and workshop at University of Michigan, "The Arts and Alternative Healing: How Different Approaches to Field Work Can Be a Life Guide to Health (Focusing on the Performing Arts and Family & Systemic Constellations after Bert Hellinger)" in honor of her late artistic partner James Leaf. The event had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
In 2016 and 2017 Luisa was a part of the Theater Faculty at Yiddish New York, an annual culture festival to celebrate the Yiddish language and Jewish culture (music, theater, dance and visual arts) where she also directed and performed.
Luisa is one of the most prominent Family and Systematic Constellations facilitators in New York and holds regular workshops in healing centers across the city (MINKA Brooklyn, OHM Center, Balance Arts Center, Maha Rose), as well as different states (at Kripalu, Massachussets). Please find more information here.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
As a lover of languages Luisa knows five: She is fluent in English and German and proficient in French, Spanish, and Yiddish.
Luisa is left-handed.