Born: March 2, 1951 Primary Instrument: Viola
LaDonna Smith has been on the international new music scene for well over 30 years. An active performer, recently recording and touring with Misha Feigin, Russian guitarist/balalai/poet, recently published an exciting current release, Deviant Shakti, with NY percussionist/drummer Michael Evans. From Birmingham Alabama, she is an active educator & avid presenter of improvised music in her native geographic area. By networking with organizers and musicians from other cities, and through her work with the improvisor journal, she has been responsible for keeping improvised music alive in the South Eastern United States. In 1996 & 2004 she organized the Birmingham International Improvisation Festival, which featured performers from Sweden, Russia, Japan and Ukraine in concert and workshop, as well as a host of regional and national participants in music, theatre, and dance. She plans to host another major regional festival celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the improvisor in 2010.
On violin and viola, LaDonna has created a style of improvisation that is uniquely her own. Alternating classical and extended techniques, she explores her instrument, painting scenarios and sound pictures as she plays. She has performed at practically every major improvisation festival and many of the New Music Festivals. She has toured Europe on numerous occasions, playing solo and in collaboration with local musicians. Her travels have taken her to the former USSR, Siberia, and Japan. In addition, she and guitarist, Davey Williams, have toured North America and Europe many times as Trans Duo. She currently tours with Misha Feigin, guitarist/balalai in the duo STRINGTREK. See www.myspace.com/stringtrek She manages the recording label, TransMuseq, and maintains the improvisor, the international journal of free improvisation, printed eleven editions, currently published exclusively on the web. She has also recorded for Table of the Elements, Parachute, Say Day-Bew, Victo, Rastacan, Leo, Roulette, Ictus, and Dice.
Awards:As a non self promoter, hailing from the state of Alabama, where arts support is not strong, and the Senators could not give "two hoots", LaDonna takes no awards.
Tracks: 1. Shamanic Guidance; 2. Inconspicuous Immersion; 3. Weeping Aerodyne Refractals; 4. Globular Guerilla Peace Tactics; 5. Transterrestrial Underground; 6. Nomadic Filtration; 7. Ornithic-Reptilian Runway; 8. Tenacious Rebel Autarchy; 9. Bonaparte's Retreat; 10. Kali; 11. Atomized Ascension; Track.
Personnel: Michael Evans: drums, theremin, percussion.
Tracks:1. Krakow Concerto; 2. Tribal Reverberation; 3. Klebnikov; 4. Die to Live; 5. Crossed Currents; 6. Something Reduced.
Personnel: Misha Feigin: guitar & balalaika.
Tracks: 1.Terrestrial Passage; 2. Chasing a Hummingbird; 3. Harmonic Harmonica; 4. Enorous Morning; 5. Breakfast Scherzo; 6. Robert; 7. Already Afternoon; 8. Air Castle Twirls; 9. Return to the Isthmus; 10. Fanatic Folk; 11. Mosquinata; 12. Khlebnikov; 13. One More Round; 14. Celestial Rumination; 15. Bagging the Truth.
Personnel: Misha Feigin: guitar & balalaika.
As A Side Musician
Tracks: Track; Track.
Personnel: Name: instrument.
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Willing to teach:
As a teacher, not only has she given many workshops on free improvisation throughout the U.S. and Canada to schoolchildren and college students, but for 30 years, she has taught violin to hundreds of children in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the Director of the Birmingham Suzuki Violin Association. In 1998, she took 24 students and 14 adults to Japan to participate in the 42nd National Suzuki Concert in Tokyo. The Suzuki Violinists also performed their own concerts in Nagano, and a Sister City International Friendship Concert in Hitachi. In 2000, she went to China to study string pedagogy there with People to People, and gave a workshop to string students at the International School in Souzjou. Since 1995, she has been core violin faculty of the Central Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute, specializing in violin master classes, groups, jazz and free improvisation.
LaDonna has given Improvisation clinics in connection with her performances on numerous occasions, for example at "Ear it Live", Toronto Canada Festival, The Composers Forum at Michigan State University in 2000, at the American String Teacher's Association (ASTA) national conferences in Reno Nevada,2006 and in St. Louis, 2007, and at the International Society of Improvised Music (ISIM) in 2008 & 2009. It's informal, sitting in a circle is best, giving live aural examples of extended techniques, along with discussions of the building blocks of good composition/improvisation techniques. Good with children or adults.