Sound Artist, Composer
Susie Ibarra is a Filipinx composer, percussionist, and sound artist. Her interdisciplinary practice spans formats, including performance, mobile sound-mapping applications, multi-channel audio installations, recording, and documentary.
Many of Ibarra’s projects are based in cultural and environmental preservation: she has worked to support Indigenous and traditional music cultures, such musika katatubo from the North and South Philippine islands; her sound research advocates for the stewardship of glaciers and freshwaters; and she collaborates with The Joudour Sahara Music Program in Morocco on initiatives that preserve sound-based heritage with sustainable music practices and support the participation of women and girls in traditional music communities.
She is a recipient of the Foundation For Contemporary Arts Award in Music/ Sound (2022), a National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship (2020); United States Artists Fellowship in Music (2019); the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (2018); and a TED Senior Fellowship (2014).
Susie Ibarra is a Yamaha, Vic Firth, and Zildjian Drum Artist. Her album, Talking Gong (New Focus Recordings 2021), features soloists and ensemble members Claire Chase (bass, alto, flute and piccolo) and Alex Peh (piano), with its title piece commissioned by SUNY New Paltz when Ibarra was Davenport Composer in Residence 2018. The album is inspired by traditional Filipino southern gong music, Maguindanaon kulintang music and by birdsongs of the region. Water Rhythms: Listening to Climate Change (2020) is a collaboration with glaciologist, geographer, and climate scientist Dr. Michele Koppes, which maps water rhythms from source to sink. Ibarra’s composition is derived from field recordings of five global watersheds, including the Greenland ice sheet and glacier-fed rivers of the Himalayas. Water Rhythms is an acoustic story of human entanglements with a changing climate and landscape. Water Rhythms was presented at The Countdown Summit, Edinburgh (2021); part of Nothing Makes Itself, ARKO Art Center, Seoul (2021); and as a multi-channel sound installation at Fridman Gallery NY (2021) and the SF Exploratorium (2022). Ibarra’s piece Fragility Etudes, was a commissioned film by Asia Society Triennial 2021 We Do Not Dream Alone. These compositions are rhythmic studies for solos and ensemble which reflects humanity’s interdependence. Ibarra explores conduction, polyrhythms and concepts from the physics of glass. Fragility Etudes was filmed in residency and premiered at MASSMoCA in live performance 2021 and as a multi-ensemble performance at the First Edition of Zamane Festival, produced by Joudour Sahara in M’Hamid El Ghizlane, Morocco. She was commissioned for a new work for percussion in which she created RITWAL solo percussion Susie Ibarra, for the UNDRUM Festival produced by Architek Percussion and Suoni Per Il Popolo 2021 for video which premiered in June 2021.
As a producer, Ibarra collaborates with Splice to create sound packs based in environmental sounds, traditional musical cultures, and her own extended percussion language. Sounds of the Drâa Valley Morocco is a sound pack featuring six traditional ensembles and soloists from South Saharan Morocco (2022). Ibarra has also collaborated with composer and bassist Richard Reed Parry on a new album, Heart and Breath: Rhythm and Tone Fields (OFFAIR Records, 2022).