Musical Renegade Matana Roberts Shakes Up the Armory

Multimedia artist and musician Matana Roberts takes over Park Avenue Armory’s Veterans Room to perform exciting original and improvised works.

Photo by Evan Hunter McKnight

I never know what to expect at a Matana Roberts show—and that’s what makes her performances so exciting. As a self-taught composer, saxophonist, and sound architect, Roberts is a musical renegade—and a mixed-media visual artist, to boot. She calls her process “panoramic sound quilting,” a term she created to describe her use of music, singing, text, and visual art to explore American history and political themes. She’ll be stitching her sounds and art together next week at the Park Avenue Armory’s ornate Veterans Room, a visually and acoustically stunning venue for any concert.

Attendees might expect TED-esque storytelling combined with intermittent improvised saxophone, larger soundscape building mixed with poetry, or visceral moaning that recalls sounds of the enslaved people in the American South. Or she may create a brand-new sonic universe in response to the audience and space. Whatever she does, it will be thrilling, layered, and like nothing you’ve experienced before.

Why You Should Go: The shows intimate format is a deeply powerful way to observe Robertss narrative of America, which she uncovers through a combination of visual imagery and performance.

Matana Roberts at Artists Studio Series
Park Avenue Armory: Veterans Room
643 Park Avenue (between East 66th and 67th Streets), Upper East Side
Tuesday, April 24, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

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