Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times), Kamala Sankaram has received commissions from Beth Morrison Projects, HERE Arts Center, Opera on Tap, and Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, among others. She is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Award from the American Theater Wing, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Opera America, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Meet the Composer, the Augustine Foundation, the Anna Sosenko Trust and the Asian Women’s Giving Circle. Residencies and fellowships include the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, the Citizens, HERE Arts Center, CAP21, Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis, the Hermitage, and American Lyric Theater. As a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, Kamala created MIRANDA, a steampunk murder mystery, which was the winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. THUMBPRINT, her second opera (written in collaboration with playwright Susan Yankowitz), premiered in the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival, and was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Agence French Presse, and over 25 media outlets around the world. THUMBPRINT will next be produced as part of the 2016/17 season at LA Opera and Opera Ithaca.
As a performer, Kamala has been hailed as “an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes” (Wall Street Journal). She has performed with and premiered pieces by Anthony Braxton, Beth Morrison Projects, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Wooster Group, Anti-Social Music, and Petr Kotik, among others. She is the frontwoman for the band Bombay Rickey, whose debut album won the 2015 Vox Pop Award for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards. Bombay Rickey’s opera cabaret on the life of Yma Sumac premiered in the 2016 PROTOTYPE Festival, where it was praised as a “rocking musical show” (Wall Street Journal). Most recently, Bombay Rickey was invited to perform the piece in London at Téte á Téte Opera’s Cubitt Sessions.
In addition to her musical pursuits, Kamala has been a voice actor on Comedy Central’s Superjail and Cartoon Network’s Golden Age, and holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the New School for Social Research.