Composer, multidisciplinary artist, performer, photographer, filmmaker, and singer / arranger on Yo-Yo Ma’s 2017 GRAMMY-winning
“Best World Music Album,” Small’s works have premiered with Kronos Quartet and Brooklyn Youth Chorus
and been lauded by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, NPR, WNYC, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Life Magazine.
As summarized by The Wall Street Journal, Small’s work “defies category."
Small was born in 1979 into a family of musicians, writers, and psychoanalysts. She spent her childhood playing cello, concocting gibberish sounds, improvising on the piano with her pianist / composer father, dancing, fencing, and performing in musicals that her lutenist mother
wrote for her and her friends. She became enraptured by photography when she was thirteen. Wandering the streets of her hometown,
Washington D.C., equipped with her Pentax K1000, Small spent her high school years photographing her close friends, strangers,
and Rachel, her younger sister and longtime muse.
Throughout high school, Small’s work was exhibited extensively and awarded first place prizes by The Corcoran Gallery and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, amount others. Her photograph was used by the Advanced Placement in the Arts Program’s annual poster which was distributed to high schools nationwide.
In 2001, Small graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BA in photography and moved to Brooklyn, NY on September 10th.
In 2008, Small was noted by American Photo Magazine as “one of the top emerging photographers” for her photographic series, The Delirium Constructions (TDC), which has since become the conceptual umbrella for her work cross-genre and which has been exhibited on six continents.
Dubbed as “the Ramones of Balkan a cappella song” and the “punk rock version of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares,” Small’s Balkan vocal trio, Black Sea Hotel, has toured extensively throughout the US and has recently returned from a multi-city Scandinavian tour. John Schaefer of WNYC’s Soundcheck, described the trio as having a sound that “expertly plays with melody and harmony, fashioning a musical world equally familiar and fantastical."
In 2011, Small mounted a 120-participant performative incarnation of TDC, Tableau Vivant of The Delirium Constructions, which interwove Balkan vocal music, a string quartet, classical arias, choral droning, historical and contemporary dress, synchronized facial gestures and dance, and well as two legal marriage ceremonies conducted by Small. The New York Times described the Tableau as “a miracle” and performance videos have exceeded two million views.
Small starred in “Butter on the Latch”, a psychological thriller feature film, directed by Josephine Decker, in where Small was described as
“a revelation… the best screen performance at the Berlinale.” The film made The New Yorker’s 10 Best Movies of 2014.
In 2016, Small was invited by the Ministry of Culture of China to be a visiting artist in Zhengzhou for an exhibition of her photographs during China’s International Photographic Art Exhibition.
Small’s most recent project, Secondary Dominance, combines Tableaux, photography, moving image, dance, and singing, with musical elements that interweave electronic, Balkan folk, industrial, pop, punk, rap, rock, and classical styles. Secondary Dominance premiered as a performance during HERE Arts Center’s PROTOTYPE Festival; The Theatre Times described the work as “a perfect synthesis of opera and media.” The album and several music videos are set to release throughout the fall of 2019.
Small lives on a tree-lined street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is writing an 8-movement chamber work for winds, strings, percussion, and electronics, entitled “Questions Brought on by the Strangers.” She is also arranging works for Black Sea Hotel’s third record, as well as for two other albums (Universal Sound Array Banner and Boomerang of Black Fluorescence), and is editing a fantasy / fiction feature film that explores the Tableau Vivant of The Delirium Constructions.