Jarrad Powell is a composer, performer, and teacher. He is currently a professor in the Music Department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle where he teaches composition, world music, gamelan, tuning and temperament, and other theory-related classes. He is Director of Gamelan Pacifica and Co-Director of IETI+I ("yeti"), the Institute of Emergent Technology + Intermedia at Cornish. His compositions have been performed and broadcast internationally and include pieces for voice, gamelan, various western and non-western instruments, electro-acoustic music, music for theater, dance and experimental film. His work also includes numerous cross-cultural collaborations, particularly with Indonesian artists, including the innovative theater pieces Visible Religion and Kali. He has studied and performed gamelan music for many years and has worked with such notable artists as K.R.T. Wasitodiningrat, Goenawan Mohamad, Tony Prabowo, Rahayu Supanggah, Didik Nini Thowok, Al. Suwardi, Peni Chandra Rini and many others. Since the early 80’s he has directed the group Gamelan Pacifica, one of the most active and adventurous gamelan ensembles in the U.S. As Music Director and composer for Scott/Powell Performance, a contemporary dance company formed in 1994, he has created over 20 major works with choreographer and visual artist Mary Sheldon Scott. Other projects also include music for three innovative short films of Robert Campbell, as well as Campbell's most recent feature-length film. He was recently music director for the Merce Cunningham Legacy Tour residency at Cornish College of the Arts, including 10 performances with the Cornish Dance Theater. For the recent John Cage centenary he curated a performance of Cage's work for the Cornish Music Series, gave a performance of Cage's legendary 4'33" at the FRYE museum, and was the first person granted permission to create an independent performance of Cage's yet unpublished work STEPS (1989), A Composition for a Painting, to be performed by individuals or groups. That performance will be featured in an upcoming documentary film about the Cage centenary.
His work has been commissioned by The Walker Arts Center, Performing Arts Chicago, On the Boards, Music in Motion, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Myrna Loy Center/Helena Presents, the National Performance Network as well as individual performers. He has received numerous grants and awards, including NEA, Arts International, Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Allen Family Foundation, 4Culture/King County, Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs/Seattle, Artist Trust Foundation and Creative Capital Foundation. His most recent recordings, Natural Selection and Stonehouse Songs are available from Present Sounds Recordings; and Scenes from Cavafy, the premiere recording of three major works by composer Lou Harrison with his group Gamelan Pacifica, was released on New World Records in 2011. He holds a BA in English and Religious Studies from Rocky Mountain College, a BFA in Music from Cornish College of the Arts, and an MA in Music Composition from Mills College, where he received the Paul M. Henry award for excellence in music composition.