Andrew Niess is a Ph.D. student and Benjamin Franklin teaching fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Music. He researches how ecological events like global warming and extinction events impinge complex temporalities, materialities, scales, and affects on musicking and voicing. Specifically, he considers this problematic as it finds its expression in the vocal experimentalism of sound art and performance art. He interlopes between philosophical, musicological, anthropological, historical, and ecological methods and analytics.

Andrew's past work has considered: Occupy Wall Street's human microphone and political vocality beyond the human; literary representations of early American women's vocality in books of street cries. 

His essay “Attunement to Protest Vocalities Beyond the Human (Microphone)” is forthcoming publication in the Oxford Handbook of Protest Music.


He is a founding member of and performer in Trace, an ensemble concerned with the careful interpretation of indeterminate music that emphasizes performance practice in the rehearsal process. His music has premiered in venues ranging from an intimate SoHo loft to the festival stage of Pulsing & Shaking and Kontrapunkt. Andrew studied composition with Joan La Barbara at NYU where he received his Bachelor's degree in music education (summa cum laude) .

Andrew was a Robert L. Poster Apprentice conductor with the New York Youth Symphony where he studied with Joshua Gersen. In 2014-15, Andrew conducted several premiers at the annual Pulsing & Shaking festival for which he served as artistic coordinator. He has conducted "contemporary" canonical works like Steve Reich's Eight Lines, and performed the same composer's Four Organs at Pulsing & Shaking 2016. Andrew has conducted and performed in premiers of New York City composers', such as Max Ardito, Evan KentGeorgia MillsSam ReisingKyle Tieman-Strauss, and Sebastian Zel. Andrew has conducted performances with the Brooklyn College Conservatory Wind Ensemble, the NYU Brass Choir, and the West Fourth Wind Ensemble.

Andrew studied tuba with Marcus Rojas. He has played tuba for the premiers of works in the Dynamic Music Festival and performed with the NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Orchestral Repertory Ensemble, NYU Brass Choir, NYU Concert Band, West Fourth Wind Ensemble, Brooklyn College Conservatory Wind Ensemble. He has performed in Carnegie Hall with the Manhattan Symphonie (2016) and the New York Youth Symphony (2015), on tuba and celeste respectively. He has also played varied chamber, orchestral, and musical theater works in such venues as St. Ann's Warehouse, Spectrum, Symphony Space, Provincetown Playhouse, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Skirball Center for Performing Arts. In addition to tuba, Andrew performs on the piano and accordion, and uses his voice for overtone singing and spoken-word.

Last updated: March 2018

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