Joanna Mattrey

Joanna Mattrey is a NYC violist and composer active in both the new music and free improvisation communities who’s playing often incorporates textural gestures, preparations, and electronic alterations. She is searching for moments of ceremony and ritual in a modern soundscape.

As a 2021 ISSUE project room artist-in-residence, she presented her new works THRUM, a staged film performance piece with poet No Land, POV: Simulation, a synesthesia collaboration with physicist Dr. Graham Walker, and New Compositions for Improvisor, a performance of 5 world premieres written for Mattrey’s unique playing style, featuring works by Nick Dunston, Leila Bordreuil, Lucie Vitkova, Weasel Walter, an a new piece for improvisor and installation by Mattrey.

Mattrey is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, alumni of Banff Composer Collective Residency, Wild Project Residency, 14th Street Y Residency. Mattrey is also a certified Alexander Technique Teacher, and certified Hatha and Kundalini Yoga Teacher.


1. I ride a scooter.

2. I live in Brooklyn.

3. I love lightning.

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Curiosity and ritual practice.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started playing violin in school at age 9.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

Usted Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan ‘Live in London’

Beethoven 7

Bach Sonatas and Partitas

Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 2

Dufay ‘Ave Regina Coelorum’

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Smoking cigarettes.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Brooklyn Aikikai and Prospect Park

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Marine Biology

7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?

Dinah Washington ‘Dinah!’ at a thrift store.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

The wind.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Playing with Henry Threadgill and Zooid

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

More and more so, although I’m still amazed by the natural phenomena of string instruments.

What can we expect from your performance at the DARA String Festival?

Sonic explosions and fleeting moments of peace.