Shayna Dunkelman is a musician and percussionist based in Brooklyn, NY.
Dunkelman is known for her versatile and unique techniques, and use of electronics to access a sonic pallet not found in acoustic percussion.
In addition to solo performances, Dunkelman tours with the Puerto Rican band Balún, multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells, electro-acoustic duo Peptalk, Pakistani singer and author Ali Sethi, and her percussion duo Nomon with her sister Nava Dunkelman.
Dunkelman was recently a soloist in the latest orchestral piece by Pulitzer Award-Winning and Grammy nominated composer Du Yun, titled Where We Lost Our Shadows (2019) along with Ali Sethi and vocalist Helga Davis. The piece premiered at Ultima Festival (Oslo), Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Southbank Centre (London). It is also scheduled to tour worldwide and to be recorded with the Peabody Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop in 2020.
Dunkelman became increasingly active in the alternative music scene as a member of the band Xiu Xiu, touring the world for 6 years. As part of Xiu Xiu, Dunkelman premiered a multimedia performance art piece at the International Summer Festival in Hamburg, Germany (2013) and Donaufestival in Krems, Austria (2014). Dunkelman was key to the creation of the album Xiu Xiu plays the music of Twin Peaks in 2016, made possible by the cooperation of the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane Australia. They were invited by David Lynch himself to share the stage with Angelo Badalamenti, the composer of the soundtrack for the TV show Twin Peaks, at the Festival Disruption curated by Mr. Lynch to benefit transcendental meditation. They also collaborated with conceptual artist Danh Vo on a month-long performative gallery exhibition at the Kitchen in New York City in October of 2014 with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and other generous contributions. As part of Xiu Xiu, Dunkelman shared stages with Genesis P-Orridge (Psychic TV), Blonde Redhead, Sun Ra Arkestra, Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails), St. Vincent and Deerhoof to name a few.
Dunkelman has recorded and performed with pioneers of avant-garde experimental musicians such as Yuka C. Honda, John Zorn, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, and Zeena Parkins.
As a composer, Dunkelman collaborated with choreographer Amanda Piña to present work at the Presidential Palace of Austria as part of the opening ceremony of ImpulsTanz with the presence of President Heinz Fischer. For this performance, she was awarded a grant from Foundation of Contemporary Arts in NYC. Since then, Dunkelman and Ms. Pina collaborated on several pieces and toured them internationally.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan to an Indonesian mother and an American father, Dunkelman became a multi-instrumentalist performing alongside her mother, a musician and composer active in Asia and the Middle East. Dunkelman graduated with honors in both music and mathematics from Mills College in Oakland, CA in 2007, where she studied percussion with William Winant.
Dunkelman is currently working on the piece Answer to (XX), a performance and documentary film exploring relationships and power dynamics between “band leaders” and “band members”. This is made possible by the generous support of Franklin Furnace and it is planned to premiere in 2020.