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Kirsten Reese is a composer and sound artist based in Berlin. She creates experimental music for electronics and instruments, audiovisual installations, and performative works with electronic media. 

Kirsten Reese grew up in Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Rhineland and has been living in Berlin since 1988. She studied flute, electroacoustic music and composition in Berlin and New York (1992/93). She was active as a flutist, author and curator in the field of contemporary and experimental music. 

As a composer and sound artist she has collaborated with renowned instrumentalists and ensembles (Ensemble mosaik, Neue Vocalsolisten) and her works were presented at international festivals and exhibitions, i.e. Eclat Festival (2018), KONTAKTE Akademie der Künste Berlin (2017), Wien modern (2017), Heroines of Sound (2015), Kunstfest Weimar (2015), Donaueschinger Musiktage (2013/2006), SPOR Festival Aarhus 2013, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (2011). Festival Rümlingen 2007/2010, Borealis Festival Bergen 2009, MIBEM Festival Melbourne 2008 and many more.

Her works focus site-specific and performative aspects and the use of "found sound" and archival and documentary material. Her interest for different loudspeaker and media constellations and the aura of historic electronic instruments is explored in "Light Green Rituals" for Fairlight CMI synthesizer and ensemble (2018) and "Atmende Kugel/breathing sphere" for six voices and Hermann Scherchens rotating loudspeaker sphere (2017).  Another focus lies on compositions, installations and audiowalks for urban and rural landscapes, i.e. "Berlin Rosenthaler Platz" audiowalk with singing sirens,  collaboration with David Wagner, „KlangBallon" (2010) for instruments, mobile loudspeakers, sensor data and three trumpets in a hot air balloon and „no voice audible but that of the sea on the far side" (2013), installation in a sound damping cylinder structure in Aarhus harbour.

Kirsten Reese received numerous grants and residencies (i.e. Cité des Arts Paris 2006, Villa Aurora Los Angeles 2009). Nomination/Special Award German Sound Art Award (Deutscher Klangkunstpreis) 2010.

Since 2005 Kirsten Reese teaches electroacoustic composition at the University of the Arts Berlin. From 2007 - 2009 she was guest professor for artistic transformation at the UdK. In 2011 she taught at the Bern University of the Arts in the program music and media art. In 2018 she was docent for composition at the Darmstadt International Ferienkurse, teaching the workshop "Composing with the Archive".


Most impressive among the festival's commissions was Kirsten Reese's no voice audible but that of the sea on the far side, a site specific installation inside a giant, rustic cofferdam parked on the quayside. This imposing cylindrical tower was designed to sit on the seabed and muffle the noise opollution of piledrivers, but Reese exploited the unique resonant properties of its interior, projecting laboratory recordings of 'fish voices', sometimes processed through Fairlight sequencers, producing a poetic ambiguity between organic and electronic sounds which seemed to spiral upwards, directing the audience's attention to the perfect blue disc of Danish sky formed by the cofferdam's opening.
Leo Chadburn, The Wire, issue 354 2013, p.80

Archive Highlights

1994 premiere at Festival Musicarama, Hong Kong 1994
1999 Ruth Crawford Seeger and the American Avantgarde of the 20ier, 30ies, 40ies
1999 Alvin Lucier Self-Portrait (1989) for Flute and Anemometer