Lisa Schonberg

phd student in electronic arts

Troy, US

percussion insects ants brazil amazon hiddensound soundscapes multispeciesrelations





Lisa Schonberg was born in 1977 in Staten Island, New York. She is a composer, percussionist, and environmental sound artist with a background in entomology and ecology.  She started playing drums as a child & later studied ecology and entomology, earning her Masters in Environmental Studies at the Evergreen State College with a focus on ant biodiversity in the Neotropics. Lisa documents soundscapes, insects, and habitat through music composition, writing, and multimedia collaboration. She strives to draw attention to endangered species, habitat loss, and other issues of human-nonhuman relations through a merging of artistic and scientific practices, often in collaboration with ecologists. Lisa recently returned from a third year of field work with ATTA (Amplifying the Tropical Ants), a project in collaboration with Brazilian entomologists investigating ant bioacoustics in the Amazon. Lisa is interested in the ecological and cultural relevance of hidden sounds and how they can impact our perception of non-human species and our decision-making processes. Her compositions are performed by her ensembles Secret Drum Band and UAU. She also performs in the band Explode into Colors, and the audio-visual improv group Ecology Ensemble with Dana Reason and Mike Gamble. Lisa co-directed the artist collective Environmental Impact Statement, which interjected artist work into environmental policy-making processes.

Lisa is the author of The DIY Guide to Drums, The Hylaeus Project: A Documentation of the Endangered Native Bees of Hawaii, and the zine Fieldguided. She is a regular contributor to Tom Tom Magazine and She Shreds magazine. Her past bands include STLS and Kickball, and she has worked with Dubais, Thao With The Get Down Stay Down, Erase Errata, The Need, Taka Yamamoto, Mirah, Tara Jane Oneil, Tuneyards, Cloud Eye Control, Peter Broderick/Gabriel Saloman, and others. Lisa has received support from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Arc’teryx, the Oregon Arts Commission, The Oregon Community Foundation, Calligram, and The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts. She has been an artist in resident at the Banff Centre, Labverde (Manaus, Brazil), HJ Andrews Experimental Forest (OR), Shotpouch Cabin (OR), Digital Naturalism Lab (Panama), A-Z West (Joshua Tree, CA), and Signal Fire. She has performed at the Adolfo Ducke Reserve (BR), The American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, the Pompidou, High Desert Test Sites, the Time-Based Arts Festival (Portland), Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and has presented lectures in the US, Europe and Brazil. Lisa recently completed 10 years of teaching drums at Revival Drum Shop in Portland, OR and moved to Troy, NY to pursue her PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Currently enrolled in PhD program in Electronic Arts at RPI, Troy, NY. Drummer/percussionist/composer/environmental sound artist/acoustic ecologist.