Wake Me When It’s Green – M3 commission with Gwen Laster

June saw the release of “Wake Me When It’s Green” – a new music and video composition and collaboration between Dafna Naphtali and violinist Gwen Laster. The piece, features Naphtali on voice, electric guitar and electronics, and Laster’s violin and voice, is homage to the duo’s recently departed fathers and a celebration of a sky full of ancestors.

The piece was commissioned by M3 Mutual Mentorship for Musicians as part of the work of the Fall 2022 Equinox cohort. The piece premiered on June 13th at the National Jazz Museum of Harlem, along with 5 other commissions of duo pieces created by the cohort’s 12 members. A Lifetime Achievement award was also presented that evening to pianist Michele Rosewoman. More information about M3 and the Fall 2022 cohort can be found here:https://dafna.info/wp-admin/post.php?post=4473&action=edit

Below is the piece as it was broadcast on June 13th. To see all of the commissioned pieces by the cohort, watch from the beginning!

Nichola Scrutton: Memory | Dream | Encounter Micro-Commissions

Summer of 2021, Nichola Scrutton (sound artist and singer from Scotland) created a project of micro-commissions to composers/sound artists Ruth WiesenfeldElisabetta SenesiDafna NaphtaliJulia Drouhin and Claire Docherty – each invited to create miniature sound compositions using fragments from those drawings as a visual prompt. The umbrella title is Memory | Dream | Encounter.

On 31st August 2021 the six composers met in a virtual gathering to listen together, discuss the works and creative process.

Claire Docherty – Pulse dream fragment For Una MacGlone (bass) & Emma Roche (flute) (3’23)
Dafna Naphtali- Striations (3′)
Elisabetta Senesi – Under the Surface (3’50)
Julia Drouhin – Mer4 (3’50)
Nichola Scrutton – Gestures (3’44)
Ruth Wiesenfeld – the wool from which the ribbons were made (3’54)

The images were a prompt, a connecting point, a spring board for dialogue. The sound compositions stand as individual works and as a collection, which hopefully will be shared publicly in the future.

more information:


Lenore Malen: Quarry (2012)

Quarry by video artist Lenore Malen, was filmed in upstate New York in June 200l, edited in September 2001 and with a final edit in 2012.
It was the very first project of The New Society for Universal Harmony. 

Dafna created the audio score for Quarry (her second score for a Lenore Malen video).  Quarry was shown at
Lesley Heller Workspace February 1 – March 4, 2012.

Quarry 2001-15
“What if objects like rock refuse the stillness of being rendered and the on human world makes its own impress, exerts its own force.” JJ Cohen
Filmed in summer 2001 and edited immediately after 9/11

Directed by Lenore Malen

Cameras: Jordan Wolfson, Ilana Rein
Editors: David Bee, Ruppert Bohle, Lenore Malen
Sound: Dafna Naphtali
Choreography: Renee Rockoff

Quarry was filmed in upstate New York in June 200l, edited in September 2001 and with a final edit in 2012. It was the very first project of The New Society for Universal Harmony.

The most recent screening was at Lesley Heller Gallery Feb. 1— March 4th 2012 in a show that I curated titled The Herd Remorse.

(requires password..)  http://lenoremalen.com/artworks/quarry

More about Quarry and Lenore Malen’s video work is here:


compositions: What is it Like to be a Bat ? – 1997- present

In collaboration with composer/performer Kitty Brazelton, these are the compositions written for What is it Like to be a Bat? (our “digital punk” trio with Danny Tunick).

She said, She said, “Will you sing ‘Sermonette’ with me ?” 1997

5 dreams: marriage (NYSCA commission) 2000

StaBAT.mom (recorded, unpublished, presently being mixed..) 2006



Panda Half-Life — 2010

Panda Half-Life is a 20-minute work for 6 voices, live audio processing / electronics, multi-channel sound and gestural controllers (Nintendo Wii and iPhones) — commissioned for Magic Names vocal ensemble by Jerome Commissioning Program (American Composers’ Forum) and with support from Harvestworks.

The work makes use of extended vocal technique percussive vocalizations as well as more traditional vocal writing, and spoken word.   It is influenced by Stockhausen, Meredith Monk, Ligeti, Trevor Wishart, and also many early music and non-western vocal ensemble traditions (i.e. use of phonemes and overtones,  abstract but very human vocal gestures and melody, clusters, and complex interwoven  rhythmic patterns).

I also wrote a custom computer program for the live audio processing components of the work, using Max/MSP.  The piece is fully scored using traditional and graphic notation, and includes a few aleatoric/improvisational sections.   I explore the musical and acoustic interaction of six voices with a variety of textures and structures.   With six separate live audio processes, I create a uniquely enhanced and interactive electronic vocal ensemble sound using polyrhythmic textures. aleatoric musical gestures, audio triggers, and Morse Code to create rhythmic structures out of text, all controlled via. live pitch tracking, envelope following, with live sampling and vocal processing.

Magic Names ensemble (with Gisburg, Peter Sciscioli, Robert Osborne, Daisy Press, Nick Hallett, Dafna Naphtali) formed in 2007 to perform Karlheinz Stockhausen’s seminal vocal  work, Stimmung.

In June 2010, Magic Names vocal ensemble premiered Panda Half-Life paired with an excerpt of Stimmung, at Issue Project Room  (Brooklyn). as part of the month long 2010 Darmstadt Institute series.  Both pieces made use of the venue’s unique 15-channel sound system to enhance and clarify the electronics and the pure and extended vocal sounds in both pieces.

In April 2011 we recorded Panda Half-Life at New York University’s Dolan Recording Studios and plan a repeat performance in the next season.



music for music robots / voice / electronics

image: Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (Al-Jazari, 13th century)

Robotica is inspired by the person and work of the ingenious early 13th century scholar/inventor Al-Jazari, the Mesopotamian creator of the some of the very first musical automata (as well as many other devices).    Robotica is written for Eric Singer’s “GuitarBot”, his array of percussion “ModBot” robots and “XyloBot”, as well as my spoken and sung texts and live sound manipulations.

I am intrigued by Al-Jazari’s drawings and descriptions of his mechanical inventions in his  “Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices” written over eight hundred years ago in 1206.    “Robotica”  is my imagined music for his automata and in part reflecting on mechanical aspects of his many remarkable inventions, musical and non-musical some of which are still in use today.

The piece has been and ongoing project since 2008 when the first ideas and music were developed with the LEMUR music robots during a residency at Eric Singer’s LEMURPlex (see video bottom of the page).    Through funding from Franklin Furnace Fund it was further developed and presented in 2011 during Music with a View at Flea Theater.
(see video below).    And in March 2016, the piece was once again expanded for performance at Avant Music Festival 2016 (with the Bricolo Music System).

Wil “maraca” controllers of the xylobot

In performance, I control both the notes being played by the LEMUR robots and my audio processing via computer programs which I write (in Max/MSP) and with 2 Wii controllers in tandem physical gestures.     Many of the texts I speak and sing were originally generated using an online poetry robot and I created rhythms and melody and embedded meaning using Morse Code for the word “robot” and texts related to Al-Jazari.  These ideas, plus my use of polyrhythmic metronomes have all been part of my long-term musical work and inquiry.

LEMUR xylobot

This performance/variable media art work was made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.  Major support of the Franklin Furnace Fund was provided in 2010-11 by the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, and Jerome Foundation.

Performance and development of the work started during my 2008 residency at LEMURPlex (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, then in Brooklyn, run by Eric Singer).   In 2011 with funding from Franklin Furnace fund and support from Harvestworks (rehearsal space and material support), I finished the next part of the work, recorded and presented the work-in-progress during a Music with  View concert curated by Kathleen Supové at Flea Theater.

In March 2016, songs from Robotica were included on a solo evening performance as part of Avant Music Festival 2016 – Tuesday Tangents series at Wild Project, NYC.  This was an expanded full-evening version of the work, using a mechanical music system by Nick Yulman (Brooklyn). More information about the concert here..

As part of the concert I was interviewed by Steven Swartz for (now defunct) SoundNotion podcast in episode #229.

Documentation from Avant Music Fest 2016:

Working on the piece in my studio prior to the Avant Music Festival show in 2016:

Photos from the concert:
Robotica at Avant Media 2016

Here is some earlier documentation from back in 2008 when developing the first version of the pieces at a residency at Eric Singer’s LEMURPlex (Brooklyn).

Lenore Malen: Be Not Afraid audio score (2-channel video, 2007)

“Be Not Afraid” is a two-channel looped video originally projected on suspended glass screens. A re-enactment of the first hypnotic session ever pictured (from an l9th century engraving) it also incorporates archival footage from the Worlds’ Fairs and NASA Footage.

Be Not Afraid, 2007

In 1784 the Marquis de Puysegur, a follower of Franz Anton Mesmer magnetized – or hypnotized – a shepherd, Victor Race on the Village Green

In the video members of The New Society for Universal Harmony are hypnotized under a tree behind which the viewer can see the remnants of Philip Johnson’s NY State Pavilion, itself a tribute to the U.S. Space Program. The video explores two aspects of modernity, the remnants of the utopian dream and the origins of psychoanalysis.

The video was shot in June 2006 by Ezra Bookstein and Ilana Rein, directed by Kathryn Alexander, edited by Lenore Malen and Ruppert Bohle with a score by Dafna Naphtali. It was produced by Lenore Malen & The New Society for Universal harmony.

(requires password) http://lenoremalen.com/artworks/be-not-afraid

more about Lenore Malen and Be Not Afraid and more

Landmine – Disklavier / sound-processing

landmine (2000 rev. 2007/2017) is a composition and performance project created for pianist Kathleen Supové,, on Yamaha Disklavier Grand Piano and with live-audio processing by Dafna Naphtali.  Commissioned in 1999 by American Composers Forum for Supové, it premiered that year.  The various sections of the piece are named for Unix processes, each one related to the musical concepts for that section. The piece has been performed in NY, Florida and Australia, was finally recorded by Supové and Naphtali in 2017, and performed most recently in 2019 at Areté in Brooklyn, NY. in 2019, landmine was finally released on Supové’s critically acclaimed album “Eye to Ivory” (Starkland label).

The composition and performance of this piece rely heavily on programs Naphtali has written in Max/MSP:  The piano part is based on a real-time algorithmic compositional “toy” that she developed, inspired by the music of Nancarrow and Xenakis.  It was used to generate all the basic harmonic and rhythmic materials used in writing the piece. 

The live audio processing in the piece uses a program she’s been developing since 1993 to control an Eventide effects processor, and it is an extension of the computer-instrument she uses in composed and improvised performances. Finally, in two sections (most notably the last measures of :q! quit without saving), the pianist improvises with and against the same algorithm that was used to generate the raw material for the piano parts, as well as with a program that creates “piano for 14 hands”.  The title reflects the way the “toy” algorithm behaves — inserting chords and repetitions in unexpected places that could potentially overwhelm the performer.

landmine: {dafna naphtali} movements

xp swap
:sh invoke a shell
:q! quit without saving

Performance 2/25/19 at Areté Venue & Gallery in Greenpoint Brooklyn, NY.
Kathleen Supové, piano.  Dafna Naphtali, live electronics / processing.

See video of Kathleen Supové performing with Naphtali at NIME 2007 in NYC.

Landmine @ NIME conference 2007 from Dafna Naphtali on Vimeo.

A standalone installation version of Landmine 1999/2007/2019 using an algorithm in Max to control the Disklavier and and create the piano parts for the composition. The piano reacts to anyone who wishes to play along. This was recorded at Extended Piano Festival in NY 2011 (works for Disklavier)

Men March — 2007

Men March, an electronic chamber work, was commissioned by Brecht Forum as part of the Neues Kabarett music series. The piece was created for an evening length performance: “New Art Songs for the 21st Century: spontaneous & premeditated compositions, audio machinations/meditations & explosive interludes”, which premiered February 10, 2007 – Bertolt Brecht’s birthday.

Scored for soprano voice, chamber group, electric guitar and live sound processing, on this evening, Dafna sang and played the guitar, and was joined by Briggan Krauss (baritone and alto sax), Alex Waterman (cello) and David Simons (drums, percussion, glockenspiel). She also performed with her live sound processing on all the instruments in the ensemble.

The texts in the piece envision a young girl growing up in an occupied territory, simultaneously encountering personal and poilitcal turmoil, in her coming of age and political awakening. Inspired by stories of Naphtali’s mother’s upbringing in British mandate Palestine and poems of Maya Angelou.

The Brecht Forum is a place for people who are working for fundamental social change and a new culture that puts human needs first. The Brecht Forum offers a year-round program of classes, lectures, seminars, art exhibitions, performances, popular education workshops and language classes in its new, beautifully renovated home looking out over the Hudson River.

The Brecht Forum’s Neues Kabarett series has presented monthly avant-garde / free jazz and experimental music concerts since 1998.  We create performing opportunities for established and emerging artists (sometimes involving visual artists, dancers and poets) and have helped create a viable, visible new performance space at The Brecht Forum. In addition, Neues Kabarett presents occasional events in other venues such as galleries and community gardens, and is a volunteer-run collective.

Neues Kabarett is made possible with the support of The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Wheezer — 2005

Wheezer is an audio work for surround sound (5.1), released on Harvestworks Workspace projects 2005 DVD, and was a part of the traveling exhibit of sound pieces under the same name, with “performances” in Germany, Bulgaria and the U.S. in 2005/2006.

Wheezer was originally conceived and created as a piece for live performance with 16 individual speakers and a keyboard interface which allowed me to “play” the speakers as if they were instruments, commissioned and performed live at Engine 27 (a multi-channel sound gallery) in New York City in 2001.    The source sounds were all taken from audio processing I did on my intentionally ambiguous/microtonal vocalises.    I wanted the audio to move in the space in undulating motions not unlike (sometimes) labored breathing motions, as during the nighttime asthma-like attacks I had as a child.  The piece reflects some of the panic and claustrophobia I experienced during these episodes of not being able to breathe, and now looking back, perhaps also the backdrop of working (at Engine 27) in the climate of Lower Manhattan after 9-11.     This 5.1 Surround Sound mix of the piece was created specially for a 5.1 surround sound DVD created by Harvestworks in NY, has run as a sound installation in several places in the US and in Europe.