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Composer Paul Pinto creates, performs and produces experimental music and theatrical works, primarily focused innovative and engaging new form of opera-theater that fuse the musicality of American speech, poetry, classical music, extended vocal techniques and electronic sound art. He is a founding member of the acclaimed collectives Varispeed and thingNY, and his music has been performed across the U.S. and internationally with and by ensembles, performers and presenters around the world, including Joan La Barbara, Pauline Oliveros, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ne(x)tworks, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, loadbang, wildUP!, The Industry in LA, The Royal Scottish Academy Chamber Chorus, the Carnegie Mellon Concert Chorus, New Thread Saxophone Quartet, Iktus Percussion, BRIC Arts, The Whitney Biennial, The Kitchen, Roulette, Experiments in Opera, the Panoply Performance Laboratory and Performa.

His recent work as a composer, collaborator, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has been praised in the New York Times,Wall Street Journal,Los Angeles Times, NewMusicBox, and Time Out New York. His opera Thomas Paine in Violence was hailed as "expressive, impressive and engaging" by the Times, and "thrilling and rare, and must be experienced" by Schmopera. With his performance collective, Varispeed, Paul created a new site-specific arrangement of Robert Ashley's seminal opera for television, Perfect Lives, which made TONY's "Best of 2011" List and was praised by the Times as one of the "standout operas of recent decades."

For years, Paul has been an advocate of underrepresented experimentalists in the classical music concert halls, particularly Julius Eastman and Robert Ashley, and has worked to diversify modern opera and experimental music theatre both in casting, and in form and style. Paul has chosen to work equally with traditional instruments and vocalists, lo-fi electronics, unconventional sound-makers and amateur musicians, creating one-minute opera, concert length chamber music, and durational performance art. At the helm of thingNY, Paul has premiered hundreds of works from emerging and established composers including Pauline Oliveros, Vinko Globokar, Art Jarvinen, Gelsey Bell, John King, Kyle Gann, Rick Burkhardt, and Gerard Grisey. With thingNY, he co-created and performed the operas ADDDDDDDDD (2008), TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts (2011), Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment(2013), and This Takes Place Close By (2015). Of their latest work, the new music journal I Care If You Listen writes "rarely, if ever, [have I] seen an encyclopedic array of experimental effects so intimately linked with their expressive potential."

As a vocalist, Paul has performed in the U.S. and Asia in untraditional chamber music works and experimental and improvisatory creations, including the five-octave lead role in Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King, in John Sanborn and Dorian Wallace's video opera, Temptation of St. Anthony, and originating the Broadway role of Balaga in Dave Malloy and Rachel Chavkin's hit musical, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.

Scenes from his ballet, Miseke are available on DVD and CD through the educational UK label, Learning and Teaching Scotland. In addition to thingNY's comic book opera release ADDDDDDDDD and their latest album minis/Trajectories, Paul has self-released four albums: The Gentlemen (2009), a suite for vocals and electronics, Every Note on the Piano (2010), NUDES: live at the Mary Benson Gallery (2010), and For Stefanos Tsigrimanis (2011) an elegy for turntables, voice, guitar and electronics. His scores have been published by Deep Listening Publications.

Paul is a recipient of several awards and grants from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New Music USA, Chamber Music America, The Puffin Foundation, and a three-year residency at the HERE Arts Center, where he developed Thomas Paine in Violence. He was born and raised in Queens, a child of immigrants, studied at Carnegie Mellon with Nancy Galbraith, Leonardo Balada and with Robert Page, and then at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with John Maxwell Geddes, before moving back to New York. He now lives in Jersey City with his wife, Amanda, and their dog, Lady.


Whiteness (2022)
with Kameron Neal
Immersive music video installation

Songs from Fucking A (2022) by Suzan Lori-Parks
Vocal arrangements for 3-11 singers

I pass'd a church (2022) single-channel music video and 4-channel music video

Music for Llontop (2019-2022)
with Anonymous Ensemble

Dear Nancine (2021)
thingNY's multimedia opera told through the mail

Music for Antigone (2021)
by Sophocles, trans. Ann Carson
for two choruses, handbells, drums, and sand

Whiteness: Blanc (2021)
with Kameron Neal
[music video]

Living Room (2020)
with Katelyn Halpern
[music video]

The Mirror (2020)
with Erin Rogers, adapted from thingNY's A Series of Landscapes
[music video]

Music for Tartuffe Online (2020)
A play by Moliere. Directed by Lucie Tiberghien

tony toʊni toni (2020)
für three singers
[music video]

A Series of Landscapes (2020)
an online opera by thingNY

Just Love (2020)
[music video]

SubtracTTTTTTTTT (2020)
an online opera by thingNY

The Blurring Test (2020)
a song cycle by Varispeed, libretto by Peggy Weil

Why are you talking to a machine? (2020)
multiple electric guitars, voices, live processing, electronics and video

Music for Antigone (2020)
for double chorus and percussion, text by Sophokles (trans. Ann Carson). Dir. April Sweeney

Music for Mad Forest (2020)
A play by Caryl Churchill. Dir. Ashley Tata

* I wonder if she can tell I'm hard right now. * Hmm. (2019)
for vocalist and electronics

Ready to Die Etudes (2019)
for vocalist with electronic samples and percussion

15 Photos (2018-19) for vocalist, drone instrument(s), lighting and movement

minis_001-014 (2008-2019)
a series of compositions for various chamber ensembles of speaking/singing instrumentalists

Three Songs near Omaha, Nebraska (2018)
music video for three vocalists and electronics
[music video]

Thomas Paine in Violence (2017)
a psychedelic opera about the afterlife of the American Patriot... in space
libretto by Paul Pinto and Rick Burkhardt
9 vocalists, vn, vc, hp, pno, electronics

Molly (2015)
for three female singers and electronics, video by Matthew Bernard

Unintelligible Response (2014)
for singers and 4 singing instrumentalists (hp, pno, vn, vc), lyrics by Paul Pinto and Rick Burkhardt

Hack It! (2014)
for voices

This takes place close by (2015)
an opera by thingNY, directed by Ashley Tata

"...with laser focus; while, maybe, a little syringe...; When I'm done with this one, I'm done fer good." (2014)
solo trombone

Agnus Dei (Sheep to the Slaughter) (2013)
3 sopranos + any number of accompanying singers

Music for Empty Words (2012)
a work by John Cage, interpreted and arranged by Varispeed

The Good Person of Szechwan (2012)
music for the play by Brecht, for singers, strings, percussion and cello

Perfect Lives (2011-)
an opera by Robert Ashley, arranged by Varispeed

Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young (2011)

TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts (2010-11)
by thingNY and Panoply Performance Laboratory

anyone's story (2010)
for amateur SATB chorus

Cataract (2012)
for multiple drumsets

Music for Your Living Room (2010-11)
for solo Bb clarinet + installation (large scroll score, bamboo, twine)

For Stefanos Tsigrimanis (2010)
for solo performer, two portable turntables, vocalist, guitar and electronics

sax concerto (2009)
saxophone soloist and six non-sax players playing saxophones

My Super Special Recital (2008)
multi-instrumentalist + 3 accompanists (any instruments or non-musicians)

g3db.Did0 (goodbye, Dido) (2008/2013)
baritone, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone

"hands... my hands" (2007, rev. 2013)
voice, electronics and unspecified instruments

Music to accompany the slow painful death of (2006)
singers, unspecified instruments, drum kit

Miseke (2005)
ballet for chamber orchestra

1984: Images for Orchestra (2004)
3-2-3-3; 4-3-3-1; timp, 4 perc, pno; str


String Quartet No. 4 - "I pass'd a church"
[digital download/music video]

Lovely Music 5004CD [CD]

Just Love
Gold Bolus 050 [digital download/music video]

Improvement (Don Leaves Linda)
Lovely Music 5002 [CD]

Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young
Gold Bolus 033 [digital download]

John Cage - Empty Words (live at Roulette - arranged and performed by Varispeed)
Gold Bolus 035 [digital download]

Dave Malloy - Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 [original Broadway cast recording]
Reprise Records [digital download, CD]

Robert Ashley - Crash
Lovely Music CD 5001

thingNY - minis/Trajectories
Music of Paul Pinto and Erin Rogers
mini_001, mini_002, mini_003, mini_004, mini_005, mini_008, mini_009, mini_011
Gold Bolus 024 [digital download, CD, LP]

Paul Pinto - For Stefanos Tsigrimanis
self-release [digital download]

Paul Pinto - The Gentlemen
self-release [digital download]

self-release [CD + comic book]

animal nudity - NUDES
Stefanos Tsigrimanis + Paul Pinto
self-release [digital download]

thingNY - Thing Tank: : : : (live at)
Music to Accompany the Slow Painful Death of
self-release [digital download]

Dave Malloy - Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
original cast recording
Sh-K-Boom [digital download, CD]

loadbang - Monodramas
g3db.Did0 (goodbye, Dido)
Analog Arts [digital download, CD]

Robert Ashley - Perfect Lives Catskills Arranged by Varispeed, video by Matthew Bernard
Mount Tremper Arts [digital video]

Panoply Performance Laboratory - The Transformational Grammar of the Institutional Glorybowl Part III: Institute_Institut
Gold Bolus 010 [digital download, CD]


"Paul Pinto is one of the most exceptional composers in new music, with a sensibility that can handle deadly seriousness and wicked humour via means that seem bizarre on the surface but are thought through and controlled. He's Ernie Kovacs crossed with Leonard Bernstein. Pinto has been eviscerating capitalism, without didacticism, for years, and in a society run by artists, he would be president."
-The Wire

"A composer and performer of astounding talent. He is one of those musicians who apparently can do anything”
-Robert Ashley, composer

"singing with a cult-leader-magnetism"
-Operavore, WQXR

"Comes on stage, and all hell breaks loose.... larger than life... a wildly festive spirit penetrates every inch of stage, theater, and sound space."
-Huffington Post

Thomas Paine in Violence

"Must be witnessed. The art that Pinto has created with, Joan La Barbara, the Manchorus, the brilliant instrumentalists and creative team is thrilling and rare and must be experienced live for a full sense of its depth of ingenuity."

"Hyper-high notes: The Week's Best Classical Music Moments: Impressive... expressive... affecting"
-New York Times

"One of those experiences that I tell other people about when they ask, 'what was one of the most affecting performances you've seen in the last few years?"
-I Care If You Listen

"cutting-edge... there are so many rich resonances and tangents"
-Steve Smith, The National Sawdust Log

"an enormous amount of fun... with the subtlest of verbal dexterity, the text is morphed into something entirely new and made all the more immediate and profound. What starts out seeming like an amusing vocal exercise slowly becomes a heartbreaking and arresting modern translation of Paine's revolutionary words."
-Nick Anderson, Culturebot

"Saw it... Loved it! A 75-minute theatrical fever dream that kinda feels like Hamilton on acid... Energizing, funny, and a truly tremendous work of art that you'll be thinking about it for a long time afterwards."


"Face it! This is why you live in New York."
"One of New York's most daring young opera companies."
-Time Out New York

" avant-garde as anything I've seen recently – by which term I inexactly mean that it was more focused on how we live at this exact moment than on the traditional conventions of concert-giving.
-Kyle Gann, PostClassical

This Takes Place Close By

"I have rarely, if ever, seen an encyclopedic array of experimental effects so intimately linked with their expressive potential."
-I Care If You Listen

"...provocative, often hilarious..."
"gripping and often reaches a white-knuckle intensity"
-Lucid Culture

Perfect Lives Manhattan

"Staged by performance-art cabal Varispeed in public and private spaces throughout the Village and Soho, this live version of Robert Ashley's seminal multimedia opera was punky and profound, showing that innovation has less to do with bottomless budgets than with vision and spirit."
-Time Out New York ["Best of 2011"]

"The Varispeed production, presented as part of the Performa 11 festival, was less an act of rescuing a work from oblivion than one of repurposing its materials to unleash latent potential, while remaining faithful to its textural integrity and structural rigor. That Varispeed's members could express themselves so readily through Mr. Ashley's work while remaining faithful to it was impressive."
-The New York Times

ADDDDDDDDD: an opera by thingNY

"ADDDDDDDDD takes rapid-fire, largely spoken-word lyrical content and plays it out across a pulseraising background constructed of sonic accents like dinging bells and remote control channel changing-multiple streams of content flashing by at warp speed. Even in its audio-only CD release format, it's somehow all consuming. I bet no one feels the urge to check their email during a live performance. ADDDDDDDDD is packaged with a fun, quirky, comic book libretto. A lovely item that takes the album a step beyond the usual CD release, it makes the physical object in the digital age an interesting piece of art in and of itself, worthy of shelf space and providing plenty of additional visual stimulation."

For Stefanos Tsigrimanis

"Excellent. I loved the honesty about it.... Definitely get your hands on the recorded version."
-Douglas Laustsen, WRSU