Mary Edwards is a composer and sound artist whose work encompasses environmental and architectural installations, film and theater scores and interdisciplinary projects.
2 February 2023
Everywhere We Are is the Farthest Place
The Spitsbergen Artists Center, Longyarbyen, Svalbard, Norway
Everywhere We Are is the Farthest Place, a sound installation + performance on the transforming Arctic landscape, is a work-in-progress, comprised of a score for Waterphone and keyboard, performed synchronically with an immersive, cinematic audio soundscape of ambient field recordings of ice, water and wildlife soundsgathered while on a research vessel on the fjords of Svalbard, Norway using hydrophones and contact mics. It is the first in a series of odes rather than elegies, to climate vulnerability, elemental sensuality and and environmental connectivity.
20-26 March 2023
Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL
A virtual sound installation created by Mary Edwards for the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE) conference, "Listening Pasts, Listening Futures."
5 April 2023
Arts 240 Auditorium, California State University San Marcos, CA
Mary Edwards discusses her research and compositions in environmental sound, invisible architecture, the emotive, historic and spatial properties of sound, the intimate immensity of cinematic audio and a score for th transforming Arctic landscape as part of this visiting artist series at California State University San Marcos.
16 April 2023
Mary Edwards in Concert
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1, New York, NY
27 May 2023
Mary Edwards in Concert
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3, New York, NY
17-20 August 2023
WORKS + PROJECTS
Four Pageant Motifs for Ida B. Wells
Score commissoned by The Collective Face Theatre (Director David Poole) for Ida B N' The Lynching Tree, a staged performance premiering at the 33rd Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival that tells the story of Ida B. Wells, a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Award winning journalist and founding member of the NAACP, by moving through major events of her life to include her lifelong crusade against lynchings and inequities. Book by Carolyn Nur Wistrand.
The Grey Area
In this web feature, Mary Edwards offers a sensory tour of The Grey restaurant's long history meditating on its segregated past through the eyes of her ninety-year-old mother, Jewel Edwards. Read "The Grey Area'" and listen to its accompanying soundscape here.
The Wa(l)king Pattern Revisited
Joy Has A Sound: Black Sonic Visions
An anthology of Black art, poetry, prose, scores, scripts and silences, including “The Wa(l)king Pattern Revisited," by Mary Edwards, a poetic adaptation of a soundscape written as a "living history" ode to her mother, Jewel Edwards. During her youth in the 1940s American Southin a bold quest to pursue her education in the face of the Jim Crow Lawsshe cultivated an environmental stewardship and deep listening practice during her resolute 4am daily walk part of the way to school as she navigated the natural world.
"This anthology is a poly-vocal, visually stunning answer to the question, What are the sounds of community and how they are handed down? A home for Black art and culture in Seattle's Central District, with this anthology Wa Na Wari makes a home for the essays, poetry, scores, scripts and silences of the Black poets, musicians, artists and scholars assembled by editors Rachel Kessler and Elisheba Johnson to wonder about the time-traveling, place-making power of sound." (From The 3rd Thing Press)
Contributors: Anastacia-Reneé, Kamari Bright, Thione Diop, Mary Edwards, Rachael F., Aricka Foreman, Rell Be Free, Amir George, Chantal Gibson, Walis Johnson, JusMoni, Anaïs Maviel, Larry Mizell Jr., Okanomodé, and Christina Sharpe
Mary Edwards: A Retrospective
Something to (Be)Hold
All sounds are habitable, and have the potential to be transformative once you get inside them. As a composer and sound artist/architect, I respond to the ecological, constructional, and emotional essence of the inner and outer landscape.
Other than my use of sketches and sound arc notation (a timeline with a curvature)purposefully to unfold allegory and create a cinematic immersion in these auditory spacesquintessentially, there are no visual components to my installations. The coalescing of ambient resonances, disembodied voices, humming, melody and intonations are in themselves the structures that I cultivate to convey an emotional channel or soundtrack one may associate with acoustic intimacy.
Upon closer listening, those sounds may reveal an infinitesimal harmonic or dissonant universe located in a conversation that speaks to the conflict of desire and uncertainty that can simultaneously haunt intimate (if sometimes interim) spaces. Each draws on the relationship we have with time, where the anticipation of travel or movement often overshadows the destination.
I practice what architect Juhani Pallasmaa calls “Sensuous Minimalism,” where a certain neutrality, restraint and silence are an inherent quality of the discipline: “The significance is not in its material form, but in its capacity to reveal deeper layers of existence.”
Something to (Be)Hold
What does “place” sound like when it, upon first impression, seems so familiar that one may bypass their imagination for the ordinary?
The locations around the gallery can serve as portals, or an impetus to possibility, that what we subconsciously navigate in our everyday patterns can be transformative to our encounter and expectations if we pace ourselves and listen. You will discover there is no actual silence or stillness afterwards. You may, through engagement, eventually find music in nature, and beauty in between the complexities and unanswered spaces.
What about the sound of time? Does it render the momentary or seemingly endless passage whose common denominator is ominous discord? Or does it gleam with consonant brightness toward the future? Do we hear or resonate differently when we revisit a place after a period of absence? Does the place itself repopulate with resounding motions other than our own?
The soundtracks you hear draw from the material form, and are an extension of my relationship to the natural world, and the lesser known, but no less important histories that have unfolded in these spaces through which you are walking. The elemental sounds or voices I use are not designed to elicit disquietude, but to evoke a sense of remembrance, as well as nature’s reclamation of these discrete, yet interrelated spaceseach being, at once, vast and intimate.
Go to Gallery page.
Endeavour: A Space Trilogy for the NASA Expedition of Dr. Mae C. Jemison Featured in INVERT/EXTANT
U.K.-based Invert/Extant included a text and sound piece feature by Mary Edwards about NASA Astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first American Black woman to go into orbit. .
The Wa(l)king Pattern
The Sweet Curve
Mary Edwards premiered two new sound installaions as part of the exhibition, Remembrance Memorial Monument, at the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery (MA). Each takes a poetic approach to both the natural and built environments, marking progression in an ecological and social context. They comprise a movement-based score exploring the rhythms, tones and spatial inflections of the course of Holland Road in Register, Georgia, in perpetuity to her mother, Jewel Edwards, and composed as a "living history." During her youth in the 1940s American Southin a bold quest to pursue her education in the face of the Jim Crow Lawsthe young Jewel cultivated an environmental stewardship and deep listening practice during her resolute 4am daily walk part of the way to school on that road as she navigated the natural world; and an immersive, sonic depiction of the transformation of Eero Saaranen’s Futurist TWA Terminal 5 at JFK Airport, from an active point of departures and arrivals, reflecting the ‘60s post-Jet Age optimism and integration, to the present-day landmark that serves as an actual destination. January 23 through February 20, 2020.
Gospel Number Eight: Tributary
Mary Edwards' sound composition, Gospel Number Eight: Tributary was installed in the hopes springing high exhibition in NYC as part of the SPRING/BREAK Show during Armory Arts Week at the Conde Nast Building in Times Square. The exhibition was curated by Dan Halm and also included the work of Nona Faustine Simmons, Delano Dunn and Anders Jones. The featured artists defiantly face and confront their own American history while shedding light on their ancestor's struggles by using personal narratives and historically researched significances. "Gospel Number Eight: Tributary" is a meditative reimagining of Edwards' ancestors’ relationship and reconciliation with the Atlantic Oceanthe body of water through which they were harrowingly ushered into The Middle Passagea time of in-betweenness for those being traded from Africa to The Americasuntil their settlement at the Savannah River. March 2018.
Review: Creativity Expansion: Don't Miss These Exhibits at the Spring/Break Art Show
When The Ocean Meets the Sky
As part of the REFUGE exhibition at Beatnik Gallery/Joshua Tree Cultural Preservation Center, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Mary Edwards' spatial sound work, “When the Ocean Meets the Sky,” pays tribute to the astronauts and aquanauts from the 1960s to present, who've prepared for deep space explorations by venturing to the bottom of the sea. This installation invites the listener to engage in the reverie of the sonorous habitats of sea and space where immersive sonics range from expansive to infinitesimal. January-February 2019.
No Man Must Speak But in Whispers
Mary Edwards' Ambient sound installation inspired by the tale of Moby Dick from the perspective of The Whale was installed at The Provincetown Museum and The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery. Spring through Summer, 2014.
The 2013-14 Season at The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery in Fall River , MA opened with an exhibition featuring the debut of Mary Edwards' new work, per/severance, a 14-minute, two-channel ambient sound installation about the Quequechan River, evocative of many things, the memories that the water still carries, and the conversation it would have if someone were there to listen.
Mary Edwards' per/severance at The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery.
Review: Sound Installation Brings Quequechan River Indoors (The Fall River Herald News, Oct 2013)
Review: BCC Exhibition is Both Evocative, Soothing (The Bedford Standard-Times, 5 October 2013)
The Sweet Curve
Epilogue for a Quinn Martin Production
The Sweet Curve (A)part of a sound trilogy where each composition reflects the conflict of desire and uncertainty that seems to simultaneously haunt intimate (if sometimes interim) spaces, each drawing on the relationship we have with temporality, where the anticipation of travel or movement often overshadows the destinantion signifies the essence and impermanence of nature and architecture, evoking both absence and presence through sound. Mary Edwards practices what Juhani Pallasmaa calls "Sensuous Minimalism," where a certain neutrality, restraint and silence are an inherent quality of the discipline: "The significance of architecture is not in its material form, but in its capacity to reveal deeper layers of existence." The Sweet Curvein addition to her sound compositions, per/severance and Epilogue for a Quinn Martin Production will be installed as part of the Penumbra exhibition at Gallery 114 in Portland, Oregon, January 2 through February 5 2014.
I Could Live Forever (In a Day Like Today)part of a sound trilogy where each composition reflects the conflict of desire and uncertainty that seems to simultaneously haunt intimate (if sometimes interim) spaces, each drawing on the relationship we have with temporality, where the anticipation of travel or movement often overshadows the destinantion signifies the essence and impermanence of nature and architecture, evoking both absence and presence through sound. Mary Edwards practices what Juhani Pallasmaa calls "Sensuous Minimalism," where a certain neutrality, restraint and silence are an inherent quality of the discipline: "The significance of architecture is not in its material form, but in its capacity to reveal deeper layers of existence." I Could Live Forever (In a Day Like Today)in addition to her sound compositions, Altamont and The Juice of Stone will be installed as part of the Taproot exhibition at Gallery 114 in Portland, Oregon. January through February 2013.
For The Time Being 1
Off Season Fairground
Arctic Cathedral Topographies (Aerial View)
For the Time Being 1part of a sound trilogy where each composition reflects the conflict of desire and uncertainty that seems to simultaneously haunt intimate (if sometimes interim) spaces, each drawing on the relationship we have with temporality, where the anticipation of travel or movement often overshadows the destinantion signifies the essence and impermanence of nature and architecture, evoking both absence and presence through sound. Mary Edwards practices what Juhani Pallasmaa calls "Sensuous Minimalism," where a certain neutrality, restraint and silence are an inherent quality of the discipline: "The significance of architecture is not in its material form, but in its capacity to reveal deeper layers of existence." For The Time Beingin addition to her sound compositions, Off Season Fairground and Arctic Cathedral Topographies (Aerial View) will be installed as part of the Exit, Winter exhibition at Gallery 114 in Portland, Oregon. January 2012.
The Mentor That Matters:
Mary Edwards on John Luther Adams
Mary Edwards' essay on Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams is included in the groundbreaking anthology, The Mentor that Matters: Inspiration from Transformational Teachers, Role Models and Heroes.
Mary Edwards Joins Large-scale Choral Piece to Perform the World Premiere of Pulizer Prize-Winning Composer John Luther Adams' In The Name of The Earth at the 2018 Mostly Mozart Festival, Lincoln Center
What might a musical map of North America sound like?
Mary Edwards Joins 40-Piece Percussion Ensemble to Perform Pulizer Prize-Winning Composer John Luther Adams' Inuksuit
Mary Edwards, (on tympani), took part in a 40-piece percussion ensemble performance of Pulitzer Prize-Winning composer John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit . Conducted by Andy Bliss of the acclaimed nief-norf ensemble, the outdoor concertand the musicians were dispersed across the UNC Asheville Quad and surrounding woodland campus. The 79-minute Inuksuit is designed to heighten our awareness of the sights and sounds that surround us every day. Listeners were invited to move around freely and discover their own individual listening points, all constituting the “best seat in the house”. One may choose to root in a central location for the entire performance, listening as the music gradually expands to fill the site. Or one may choose to wander freely, following wherever the ears may lead, discovering musical moments and spaces that no other listener may ever hear. The work is influenced by the composer’s belief that “music can contribute to the awakening of our ecological understanding. By deepening our awareness of our connections to the earth, music can provide a sounding model for the renewal of human consciousness and culture.” October 2014.
Form Follows Idea: Intimate Spaces
A dialogue on sound and architecture with Trudy Miller and Mary Edwards.
New York University presents a dialogue on sound and music in film and theater with composer Mary Edwards and playwright Pamela Booker.
Screens and Structures:
Airports, Woodlands and Wombs
“…space is not simply the three-dimensional projection of a mental representation, but it is something that is heard, and acted upon.”
Bernard Tschumi, Architecture and Disjunction
Skidmore College/Case Gallery presents composer Mary Edwards who discusses The Space Between, a sound and space trilogy of interrelated spacesairports, woodlands, and wombswhich are, at once, perceived as both vast and intimate. Each shares the conflict of desire and uncertainty that seems to simultaneously haunt these types of spaces. Each space draws on the relationship we have with temporality, where the anticipation of travel or movement often overshadows the destination.
She will dialogue with installation artist and architect Evangelos Courpas on time-based art, site-related installation, and the socio-political investigations of space in his course Screens and Structures, where students will work collaboratively on the "woodlands" theme by developing connective written, visual and aural content to Skidmore College's North Woods. Support materials include Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, Janet Cardiff's The Missing Voice (case study b), and Svetlana Boym's The Future of Nostalgia. The workshop culminates in a multi-channel sound/video installation at Case Gallery.
Evangelos Courpas is an installation artist and architect working with concepts of collage, memory, space, the act of building place, and in observing or remembering how spaces become place. Mary Edwards is a composer whose projects range from recordings evocative of cinematic soundtracks to scores and sound installations both about and utilizing the properties of architecture and the natural environment that enhance spatial experience, foster deep listening, and create cinema for the ear.
Santa Barbara Literary Journal
Eastern/Central & Mountain/Pacific
"Mary Edwards' album shines with the quality and influence of a super-cool pop era: There's that cinematic touch of Francis Lai, that great Pacific Coast Highway vibe of Burt Bacharach, the poetic longing and lilt of the Carpenters and that hip urgency of a Lalo Schifrin TV theme for a Quinn Martin Production."
"The opening track, "Time and I" just sweeps you away to a luscious stoned soul picnic where echoes of The 5th Dimension and Swing Out Sister drown out all the noise of the surrounding madworld and set the tone for the rest of the addictive playlist..."
With every one of her works being a cause for celebration, Mary Edwards gives us further reason to revel with the release of her opulent, yet earthy album, Eastern/Central & Mountain/Pacific.
Mary Edwards' "Eastern/Central & Mountain/Pacific," a Timeless Release
The Spinning Special: Mary Edwards, Eastern/Central & Mountain/Pacific
Mary Edwards on Eastern/Central & Mountain/Pacific: The Deep Dish Interview
Notes Between Sessions
with Mary Edwards
Stories and conversations that explore the nuances of time, the essence of the creative process...and anything else in between. Season 1 streaming now on AnchorFM, iTunes and Spotify.
Ep. 1 - The Future Present: Eleonor Sandresky
Ep. 2 - With Her Song: Lori Lieberman
Ep. 3 - The Sound of Synchrony: Sarah Weaver
Ep. 4 - If Right Doesn't Matter: Allison Tartalia
Ep. 5 - This Time Next Year: Ondine PM
Ep. 6 - Black House, Black Joy: Jamara Wakefield
Ep. 7 - Augusta Savage/Shape of a Life: Tammi Lawson
Ep. 8 - Alive in the Wilderness: The Endless Field Band
Rockwood Music Hall 15th Anniversary
Mary Edwards performs a month-long Residency, as part of Rockwood Music Hall’s 15th Anniversary. February 2020.
The Carpenters: An Illustrated Discography
Mary Edwards contributed to the first chapter of this beautifully presented coffee table book by acclaimed author Randy L. Schmidt on Karen and Richard Carpenters’ body of work created from 1969 to 1982. ALBUMISM calls it “rightfully venerated as an indispensable canon of classics…an erudite study and critical conversation about every Carpenters album ever drafted."
The Space Between: A Sound Trilogy, 2018
Sound Installation/Artist Talks
The Ever-Enchanting Mary Edwards
Felicity Fenton interviews Mary, who plays with space, and the sounds in and in between those spaces. Read interiew here.
For The Time Being
On 91.7 KTRU's Contemporary, Avante Garde, Electroacoustic, Acousmatic, radio show, Scordatura: Composer Talk, hosts Hsin-Jung Tsai and Chris Becker play and discuss a variety of 20th and 21st century works. It’s a casual, informal, yet serious evening of music and talk. The May 31 program featured Hasu Patel’s Sitar Concerto, and music for mixed media installations, including works by New York-based composer Mary Edwards (For the Time Being and "In the Warm Space"), Nico Muhly and David Sylvian (Approaching Silence).
Composer Talk streams live on ktru.org 5 to 7 PM Central/Mountain Time. Tune in and find out why talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
A Tribute to Joe Raposo
Mary Edwards commemorates the late Joe Raposo with her cover of "Everybody Sleeps." Raposo was the prolific composer of nearly every classic '70s and '80s Sesame Street and Electric Company song along with a host of other memorable television themes like Three's Company, film soundtracks, station I.D.s and Sinatra tunes. This tribute album (including The Autumn Defense, Orwell and A Girl Called Eddy) is produced by Jonathan Donaldson and is scheduled to release this year. Read more at For Children and Adults Alike: A Tribute to Joe Raposo and Joe Raposo Tribute.
The Inn Licenses Music for Season 1
The Inn, an XFiles-esqe, supernatural soap with a twist of Alfred Hitchcock (produced by Steve Silverman who brought us PRETTY, the award-winning mockumentary that spoofs kiddie beauty pageants (Toddlers & Tiaras, Little Miss Perfect), produced by Velvet Candy Entertainment, will feature songs by Mary Edwards.
The Women at the Well: Palimpsest
Original theatrical score written by Mary Edwards for the stage adaptation of Grace Bauer's The Women at the Well, directed by Sharon Rae Paquette, set design by Liz Buckley.
Mary Edwards is currently composing score for Velvet Candy Entertainment's "darkly imaginative" and "hilariously tragic" comedy thriller film treatment, set between the 1960s- and present-day California.
Pretty: The Series Theme
("Gumdrop The Unicorn).
Velvet Candy's award-winning mockumentary that spoofs kiddie beauty pageants (Toddlers & Tiaras, Little Miss Perfect) and soap operas featured the show's farcical theme song covered by a different artist per episode. For Mary Edwards' Season 2 version, she takes her cue from Charles Fox's "Love, American Style"; for her Season 3 version, she gives it an instrumental 1980s DALLAS treatment.
2023 Natural Anthem
2023 Afternoon Cocoon
2022 Everyday Until Tomorrow
2012 Eastern/Central & Mountain/Pacific
2007 A Smile in the Mind
2018 Paul Bertolino, Poseur, Vocalist: "All the Way to Chicago"
2017 Robb Scott, Siren, Arranger/vocalist: "Keep On"
2014 Expo, Unexplained Phenomena, Arranger/vocalist: "Eyewitness Accounts of the Loch Ness Monster"
2013 Expo, The Most Fabulous Object in the World, Arranger/vocalist: "Night Time Kite Flying"
2013 The Man From Another Place, Soundtrack Music to A Lost Film,
Co-writer/arranger/vocalist: "Why" and "The Vicious Cycle"
2011 Various Artists, PRETTY: The Soundtrack, Perfomer: "Gumdrop The Unicorn" (Seasons 1 and 2)
2010 Expo, She Sells Seashells, Co-writer/arranger/vocalist: "If There Ever Was" and "Out of the Millions"
2009 Andrew Edward Brown, An Evening With Mister Brown, arranger/vocalist: "A Change is Gonna Come"
2009 John Raymond Pollard, Dreams, arranger/vocalist: "All The Time" and "You Color Me"
2008 John Raymond Pollard, Character, arranger/vocalist:"Family Values", "The Recidivist" and "Bar Sinister".
2007 Champion Soul/Afropsychopathz, A New Way, Arranger/vocalist: "A New Way"
2006 The Euston Factor, The Geneva Strain Original Soundtrack, arranger/vocalist.
2004 Contraband, Wag The Dogma, Arranger/vocalist.
2006 Contraband, Brand New Oldies, Arranger/vocalist.
2007 Robb Scott, "Future Love" (single), Arranger/vocalist.
2006 Robb Scott, "Understanding" (single), Arranger/vocalist.
2006 Robb Scott, "Anything You Like" (single), Arranger/vocalist.
2006 Robb Scott, Afro Odyssey, Arranger/vocalist.
2005 The Savage Juliet, Another Roadside Attraction, Arranger/vocalist.
2003 Karen Gibson Roc/Robb Scott, "In the Back of the Room" (single), Arranger/vocalist.
2002 Swing Out Sister, Somewhere Deep in the Night, Ambient vocalist: "Alpine Crossing (Gravelax Mix)"
1999 Swing Out Sister, Filth and Dreams, Ambient vocalist: "Who's Been Sleeping (Parabolica Mix)"
1998 Robb Scott/Durry, Cyclone, arranger/vocalist.
1996 Kevin Henry, Last Stop Brooklyn, arranger/vocalist: "Pull Me Out", "Find My Way"
1995 Wildwood, The Wildwood Sessions, arranger/vocalist.
2022 Various Artists, A Tribute to Joe Raposo, 2015,arranger/vocalist/keyboardist: "Everybody Sleeps"
2005 Various Artists, ONCE UPON A TIME 1, composer: "One Thousand Whys". "Corridor 70", "Habitat 67", "Idlewild"
1998 Owtlet, Dare I Say, Dare I Do, Co-writer/arranger/vocalist: "(You'll Never Get) Another Chance"
2005 Swing Out Sister, Live in Tokyo, writer (liner notes)
2004 Swing Out Sister, Where Our Love Grows, writer (liner notes)
2003 Trina Hamlin, Foundation, writer (liner notes)
1998 Various Artists, The Bacharach Album, writer (liner notes)
1997 Swing Out Sister, Shapes and Patterns, writer (liner notes)