Crystal Pascucci is a cellist, composer and improviser. She began playing her instrument at age nine and has always had a strong connection to music. While studying chamber music, she was assigned to play, “December 1952” by Earle Brown. This was an introduction to graphic notation and the start of an intense interest in the relationship of notation and improvisation.
Crystal’s approach to improvisation and composition are influenced greatly by her training in chamber music. Her music utilizes delicate communication amongst performing musicians, draws clear phrase lines, and uses orchestration found in small ensemble compositions. There is no one traditional tone or sound found at the aim — there is only musical intention, regardless of timbre or technique. In this way, statements are presented through a large palette — through an unconventional lens.
Music that is improvised has a certain life, character, and attentiveness that is unattainable through fixed notation. The performers are engaged in a totally different type of musical experience when improvising, one where the future is unknown and musical decisions are that of the performer. In Crystal’s compositions, she aims to create a particular musical space with fixed notation, in order to provide a musical setting for the improvising sections, or independent improvising lines.
An active performer in the Bay Area, she has recently performed the work of Roscoe Mitchell at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, as a featured solo performer at both the NextNow Music Series and the Light A Fire Music Series, at the SIMM Series (duo with Eric Glick Rieman), the graphic-score work of Christina Stanley at the 11th Annual Outsound Summit New Music Festival, and at the 11th Annual Transbay Skronathon with Matt Davignon — performances with Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Oakland Active Orchestra, the work of Polly Moller at the Soundwave Festival, with Opera Wolf as guest artists for the New Music Works: CAGE 950, John Cage 100th Birthday Celebration and more. Crystal is a Co-founding member of the Oakland Composer’s Union and performing with renowned clarinetist, Rachel Condry, in the improv duo, Chocolate for Breakfast.
Crystal holds a Bachelor’s of Music Performance from SUNY Fredonia, a graduate professional degree from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford and has attended Mills College. Her past teachers include, Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell, Zeena Parkins, Joan Jeanrenaud, Robert Black, Marion Feldman, Mihai Tetel, Bryan Eckenrode and David Rudge. Some of her musical influences include Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Dvorak, Barber, Ginestera, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Osvoldo Golijov, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Dorothy Ashby, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Pauline Oliveros, John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, KRONOS String Quartet, Frances-Marie Uitti, Bjork, RZA, Air, Alva Noto, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Andrew Bird, The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, David Bowie, Lightning Bolt, Black Dice, Fuck Buttons, and Deerhoof.