Joanna Mattrey

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Photo by Chris Dagostino

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With ‘Dirge’ Joanna Mattrey creates pieces and improvisations that evoke the sound of a half-burned, long forgotten fiddle record. Using extended techniques, preparations, and electronic alterations, Mattrey crafts noisy melodies that could have been heard at an ancient pagan bonfire. Her approach rides the line between harsh noise and soaring melody, drawing on her classical technical training, and crashing head on into the vibrant NYC noise community. Mattrey extracts fleeting moments of beauty and clarity from frenzied chaos and presents us with glimpses of balance and stillness surrounded on all sides by an overwhelming intensity. 

‘Dirge’ draws on the pain and beauty of recalling the past to honor those who’ve come before, and to continue the spirit of ritual and ceremony that is at the heart of traditional music. Mattrey uses memory as a compositional tool to create cohesive narrative pieces that connect folk sensibilities to her modern sonic approach. 

Following her debut solo viola album ‘Veiled’ (Relative Pitch Records, 2020), Mattrey brings us more material from her solo work, but this time, for Stroh violin. The Stroh violin is the illicit love-child of the trumpet and the violin. The brassy timbre from the trumpet bell and the resonance from the strings come together with Mattrey’s experimental sensibilities to create a very unusual and energetic soundscape. 

Joanna Mattrey is a performer and composer working in free improvisation, new music, and classical music. She uses a wide range of techniques to challenge the conventions of string playing. Drawing on her certifications in Alexander Technique, Yoga, and Martial Arts, Joanna creates an embodied performance practice which centers the outward motion directed by inner flow (chi, life force, or prana) as the primary source of energy and flow for her music, to craft a personal approach that is both fluid and distinct in a wide range of contexts. 

She has performed with leading improvisers Marc Ribot, Aki Onda, Mary Halvorson, John Zorn, Anthony Coleman, and Daniel Carter and regularly collaborates with No Land, Leila Bordreuil, Chris Williams, Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Matt Mitchell, Anna Webber, and Cleek Schrey. 
Festivals include Newport Jazz Festival, NYC Winter Jazz Fest, Lima Jazz Festival*, SxSW, New Ear Festival, Zebra Poetry Film Festival. Mattrey is a current 2021 ISSUE Project Room resident artist, past residencies include Banff’s Composition Lab, 14th Street Y, MoMa PS1’s ALLGOLD, The Floor* Joanna has a B.A. in classical viola performance from the New England Conservatory (2009). 
*postponed due to Covid 

releases on DLR:

DLR 024 - Dirge