Sam Pluta is a New York City-based composer, laptop improviser, electronics performer, and sound artist. Though his work has a wide breadth, his central focus is on the laptop as a performance instrument capable of sharing the stage with groups ranging from new music ensembles to world-class instrumental improvisers. By creating unique interactions of electronics, instruments, and sonic spaces, Pluta's vibrant musical universe fuses the traditionally separate sound worlds of acoustic instruments and electronics, creating sonic spaces which envelop the audience and resulting in a music focused on visceral interaction of instrumental performers with reactive computerized sound worlds.
As a composer of instrumental music, Sam has written works for Wet Ink Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Timetable Percussion, Mivos Quartet, RIOT Trio, Ensemble Dal Niente, Jessie Marino, Mantra Percussion, TAK, Dave Eggar, and Prism Saxophone Quartet. His compositions range from solo instrumental works to pieces for ensemble with electronics to compositions for large ensemble and orchestra. In addition to acoustic and electro-acoustic works, Pluta has written extensive solo electronic repertoire ranging from multi-channel acousmatic compositions to solo laptop works with video to laptop ensemble compositions for up to 15 players.
As an improviser, Sam has collaborated with some of the finest creative musicians in the world, including Peter Evans, Evan Parker, Ikue Mori, Craig Taborn, Jim Black, Anne La Berge, and George Lewis. Sam is a member of multiple improvisation-based ensembles, the jazz influenced Peter Evans Quintet, the free improvisation-based Rocket Science (with Evan Parker, Craig Taborn and Peter Evans), the analog synth and laptop duo exclusiveOr (with Jeff Snyder), his longstanding duo with Peter Evans, and the New York City-based power group Sonic Overload (with Jim Altieri, Dan Peck, Tom Blancarte, Peter Evans, and Jeff Snyder). Sam has also performed with the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. With these various groups he has toured Europe and America and performed at major festivals and venues, such as the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, the Moers and Donaueshingen Festivals in Germany, Bimhuis in Amsterdam, and The Vortex in London.
Sam is the Technical Director for the Wet Ink Ensemble, a group for whom he is a member composer as well as principal electronics performer. As a performer of chamber music with Wet Ink and other groups, in addition to his own works, Sam has performed and premiered works by Peter Ablinger, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Katharina Rosenberger, George Lewis, Ben Hackbarth, Alvin Lucier, Chiyoko Szlavnics, Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, and Eric Wubbels among others.
Dr Pluta studied composition and electronic music at Columbia University, where he received his DMA in 2012. He received Masters degrees from the University of Birmingham in the UK and the University of Texas at Austin, and completed his undergraduate work at Santa Clara University. His principal teachers include George Lewis, Brad Garton, Tristan Murail, Fabien Levy, Scott Wilson, Jonty Harrison, Russell Pinkston, Lynn Shurtleff, and Bruce Pennycook.
A dedicated pedagogue, Sam teaches Composing with Sound and Technology and Improvisation at Bennington College. From 2011-15 he directed the Electronic Music Studio at Manhattan School of Music, and has taught Music Humanities and The History of Sound Art at Columbia University. For the past 15 years he has taught composition, musicianship, electronic music, and an assortment of specialty courses at the Walden School, where he also serves as Director of Electronic Music and Academic Dean.
Upcoming events include commissions for Spektral Quartet, Anne La Berge, and Weston Olencki and Matt Barbier; a Peter Evans Quintet tour of Europe; Wet Ink Ensemble's amazing 2015-16 season; and Wet Ink Hydra Trio's tour of the midwest.