- Tamar Barzel
(b Brooklyn, NY, June 9, 1952). American vocalist, composer, librettist, free-improviser, and performance artist. She studied theater and dance at the High School of Performing Arts, took classical voice and theory lessons at the Manhattan School of Music, and served an apprenticeship with jazz artists in New York and Europe. At the age of 18 she joined the San Francisco Actors Workshop, where, influenced by Antonin Artaud and Jerzy Grotowski, she pursued an interest in sound-as-theater. She has created site-specific works—including The Passions of Natasha, Nokiko, Nina, Nicole and Norma, which explored the erotic lives of five women—and personal homages such as her virtual duet, For Jerry. Her autobiographical suite, O Little Town of East New York, reveals many of her key creative concerns, including a fascination with the nuances of cultural and personal difference. Hirsch’s narratives unfold in kaleidoscopic flashes, leaping among sonically embodied characters, glossolalia, and quotations—real and ersatz—from myriad musical sources. She performs with live instrumentalists and over pre-recorded accompaniments, using multiple microphones programmed with contrasting effects, real-time electronic processing, and video projection. ...