Sugar Vendil is a composer, pianist, and interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. Her artistic practice is strongly rooted in rigorous discipline as a musician and gradually expanded into performance that integrates music, movement, and unconventional approaches to the piano. She is a proud second generation Filipinx American.
Vendil has performed at a variety of venues, ranging from arts spaces such as BAM Fisher, Dixon Place, Knockdown Center’s Ready Room, MoMa PS1, National Sawdust, the New School’s Glassbox Theater, The Stone, and Roulette; to galleries and spaces such as The Development Gallery, Milk Studios, and Spring Studios.
She is currently an Artist in Residency at High Concept Labs in Chicago and her ensemble has been awarded a Chamber Music America grant to commission a new work from her in late 2020. Earlier this year, Vendil was a runner up in National Sawdust’s 2019 Hildegard Competition. ETHEL will premiere her new string quartet in December 2019 as part of their Homebaked commissioning program. She was a 2019 resident artist at Mabou Mines and an artist in residence at Target Margin Theater. In 2016, she was a Fellow in the Target Margin Institute for Collaborative Theater Making, which encouraged her to further pursue composition and performance making. Other residencies include Marble House Project (forthcoming), Summer Labs at National Sawdust, Avaloch Farm, Earthdance (E|MERGE Multidisciplinary Residency), the A-Z West Wagon Station Encampment, Arts Letters & Numbers, and Yaddo. She is the founder of a contemporary music ensemble, The Nouveau Classical Project.
Vendil is an advocate of the oxford comma, is obsessed with her cat Coco, and has an excellent memory.
I am a composer, pianist, and interdisciplinary artist. My compositions span acoustic, electro-acoustic, and electronic works, and I am interested in the coexistence of equal-tempered and microtonal sounds. My interdisciplinary pieces integrate music and movement, giving the body of the musician a more active role. Fusing sound and movement allows me to form unusual connective threads that encourage closer inspection.
Music and the body are central to my practice. To me, a score is only a piece of paper without the performer working to activate it. This notion is rooted in my background as a performer of over ten years, which influences my process: I imagine the live performance in order to create a score that will come alive beyond the page.
My work is non-narrative, conveying raw meaning or emotion rather than telling a story. My inspiration comes from observing and hyper-analyzing human behavior. I hypothesize, research, then deconstruct and distill my findings to extract essence.