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. 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 the Technical Director for the Wet Ink Ensemble, a group for whom he is a member composer as well as principal electronics performer. He 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. 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.