Whether blasting through the sonic explorations of her alternative chamber orchestra, B’shnorkestra, or leading the 7-piece Seismic Belt or her quintet, Samantha Boshnack’s compositional voice pulses with vitality. Her intention is to charge orchestral and chamber precision with the syncopated rhythm of her personal style.
Drawn to it’s vibrant music scene, Boshnack moved to Seattle in 2003 after graduating from New York’s Bard College. The subsequent eighteen years find her actively bolstering the thriving musical community and creating ensembles, commissions, recordings and performances both locally and nationally. She is a part of the acclaimed composers’ collective Alchemy Sound Project. She has also toured extensively in the zany, postmodern Reptet.
She formed the B’shnorkestra in 2011 and released Go To Orange in 2013 to critical acclaim. Her eponymous Quintet brought together players who had never worked before as a unit, and the results have been nothing short of incendiary—hence the title of their 2014 debut album, Exploding Syndrome.
Since 2014, she has been composing large-body works on topics she is passionate about. These projects always push her to adapt to new challenges and not be stagnant in her development.
In 2015, Boshnack premiered “Coelacanth: In Its Own Time,” with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra in honor of a 400 million-year-old species of fish threatened by extinction.
In 2016, she released Global Concertos with the B’shnorkestra – five “concertos,” each featuring a prominent musician from a different continent. This project arose from her desire to celebrate individual expression and virtuosity of musicians outside of Western classical music. By bringing diverse and adventurous elements to the concerto form, this project promotes discourse between musical communities in the orchestral arena. She explored new compositional territory by learning and adapting to the musical worlds of these top-notch guest soloists. The soloists were pushed beyond their musical comfort zones, making it a truly experimental work.
In 2017, with the Sam Boshnack Quintet, she released the CD – Nellie Bly Project, to bring awareness to a lesser-known female figure. In the 1800s, Bly fought her way into a career in journalism and exposed many atrocities in society. The suite floats between narrative and abstract, creating an imaginative world that channels Nellie’s groundbreaking spirit.
In 2018, she was awarded the Make Jazz Fellowship – an annual residency in Los Angeles. While there, she composed “Seismic Belt” – music about the Ring of Fire, which is located on the rim of the Pacific Ocean and hosts many of the world’s volcanoes and earthquakes. “Seismic Belt” experiments with the friction of geographic shifts to create a new harmonic topography. Movements of the work are influenced by cultures in places on the Ring, including Chile, Japan, Alaska, Western Samoa, and Russia. By drawing from musical cultures seldom heard in jazz music, she created compositions that have a sound altogether different. “Seismic Belt” performed at the Festival of New Trumpet Music in 2019 and the Winter JazzFest in 2020 – both in NYC.
In 2019, Boshnack attended the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music (GLFCAM) – a yearlong apprenticeship in composing chamber music. She is a member of GLFCAM’s Composing Earth Cohort I. Since January 2021, she has been reading, watching and discussing materials on the climate crisis. In 2022, she will premiere a piece for the Del Sol Quartet about the Puget Sound; focusing on it’s rich native history and the current combat of ocean acidification to preserve life in it’s waters.
In 2021, she participated in Mutual Mentorship for Musicians’ (M3) 2nd Cohort (an international network of underrepresented gender identities providing new ways to connect, support and create) for which she premiered a collaboration with Fay Victor.
In 2022, she will premiere “Uncomfortable Subjects,” a song-cycle exploring aspects of life that are uncomfortable to talk about, but help us to understand the complicated world we live in. She is collaborating with Jane Wong and Natasha Marin on this project.
She has attended two Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence Programs and was selected as a 2012 participant in the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at UCLA. She has received support and commissioning funds from New Music USA, Meet The Composer, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw Productions, Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation of the Arts, and Earshot Jazz. She has performed or recorded with artists such as Wayne Horvitz, Butch Morris, Eyvind Kang, Jessica Lurie, Bobby Previte, Amy Denio, Jim Black, David Byrne, Terry Riley, Robin Holcomb, among others.
Read recent interview with Boshnack on textura