Duane Pitre is an American avant-garde composer, performer, and sound artist. His work often focuses on the interaction between electronic sound and acoustic instrumentation, chaos and discipline, as well as site-specificity. The composer also utilizes alternate tuning schemes that focus on microtonality, enabling him to explore unaccustomed intervallic relationships. He has created works for various instrumentation configurations such as string orchestra, his own bowed harmonic-guitar ensemble, string/wind ensembles, as well as solo works (including for himself).
He has presented and performed his live works across the U.S., U.K., and Europe at spaces such as Café OTO, Roulette, The Stone, Muziekhuis Utrecht, MoMA’s P.S.1, Les Ateliers Claus, St. Ann’s Cathedral, and ISSUE Project Room (where the Jerome Foundation provided funding for his spring 2009 Artist in Residency). He has received commissions for new works by ISSUE Project Room, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and Roulette, among others. More than 100 unique musicians from around the world have taken part in the performances of his works.
Pitre’s sound installations have been included in visual art group shows in Geneva (2013's Prosthetic Measures at the Skopia Gallery) and New Orleans (as a part of the 2012 NOLA Now show at the Contemporary Art Center). Pitre has also performed live in gallery settings such as New York’s Phillips de Pury & Co., San Francisco’s Eli Ridgway Gallery (as reviewed in ArtForum as a part of James Sterling Pitt’s 2012 show On a Clear Day We Were Lightening), and New Orleans’ Antenna Gallery.
Pitre has been featured in publications such as The Wire, Foxy Digitalis, Pitchfork, Dusted, and NewMusicBox. His work has been released by various labels including Important Records, Root Strata, NNA, and Quiet Design, and he has appeared on soundtracks with Dinosaur Jr., Battles, and Animal Collective. In 2009 he curated and contributed a track to a Just Intonation compilation, alongside Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Fullman, Charles Curtis, and others.
He has performed at festivals such as the 2011 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC (alongside the Flaming Lips, Earth, Swans, J. Mascis, Guided by Voices, Rhys Chatham, and more) and the 2012 The Wire's Adventures in Modern Music Festival at The Empty Bottle in Chicago.
Pitre’s 2012 album, "Feel Free," received critical acclaim and was included on several ‘best of’ lists, including being named #37 on The Wire’s ‘2012 Rewind’ (out of their top 50 releases); #34 on The Wire’s ‘Subscribers’ Releases of the Year’ list; and #8 on Uncut Magazine’s ‘Wild Mercury Sound Top 112 of 2012’ list. In addition, “The Out Door,” Pitchfork’s experimental-minded column included Feel Free on its ‘Best of 2012: The Big Four’ list. The album was also included in several year-end lists for Dusted Magazine and many other blogs.
In 2013 Pitre will release several new albums including his follow-up to "Feel Free," titled "Bridges," which is due out on Important Records in June; a debut LP from a new collaboration with electronic minimalist Eleh (under the moniker PITRELEH); and a live recording of his summer 2012 sextet performance of "Feel Free" at London’s Café OTO, whose release date will coincide with a U.K./Europe tour in the fall.