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Jeff Arnal (b. 1971)

"A balletic sense of time and imaginative deployment of colour have combined into a highly original concept" The Wire, UK

Jeff Arnal studied music at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD. Received his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Maryland, and received his MFA in Music from Bennington College. Arnal has worked in the arts and nonprofit sector since the late 1990s. He was appointed executive director of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in June 2016. Previously, he worked as a senior specialist for the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage in Philadelphia. In 2000 he co-founded Improvised and Otherwise, an interdisciplinary festival for emerging artists in Brooklyn, NY. As a composer and percussionist, he has performed and collaborated with a wide range of musicians and choreographers throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has received grants and fellowships from Art Omi International, ASCAP, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Meet the Composer. His music can be heard on a number of independent record labels including Clean Feed in Portugal and Leo Records in England.

Long Biography

Inspired by DIY and independent music in the 1980s - Jeff began playing drums at the age of 13 in the suburbs of Atlanta. He studied percussion at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and music composition with Stuart Saunders Smith at the University of Maryland. In the mid 90s he began performing experimental music, pulling from interest in many types of creative music - setting into motion a lifelong journey investigating composition, sound and listening.

This new direction brought Arnal to Bennington College to study with percussionist, Milford Graves. During this time he also studied and performed with saxophonist, Charles Gayle. The culmination of this work led to a series of duo concerts with Gayle at Tonic in NYC.

Based in NYC between 2000-12, he has performed and collaborated with a wide range of musicians and choreographers throughout the U.S. and Europe with appearances at Ausland (Berlin), Berlin Exploratorium, deSingel (Antwerp), Issue Project Room (NYC), German Nordwestradio - NDR (Bremen), Hallwalls (Buffalo NY), MATA Festival (NYC), Music Gallery (Toronto), Roulette (NYC), and Vision Festival (NYC).

His collaborations with choreographers have been produced at PS 122, Joyce SoHo, Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, The Chocolate Factory and Judson Church.

He has received grants and fellowships from ASCAP, Brooklyn Arts Council, Meet the Composer and Art Omi International. His music can be heard on a number of independent record labels including Clean Feed in Portugal and Leo Records in England. He has also contributed music to the feature films: Otto; or Up with Dead People by Bruce LaBruce and The Cult of JT LaRoy by Marjorie Strum.

From 2012-16 Arnal was a Senior Specialist at the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in Philadelphia, PA. Previously, Arnal was an active curator of music, dance and performance events in the NYC arts community. He co-founded Improvised and Otherwise, organized performances and sound installations at The Chocolate Factory and served as curator of On The Way Out, a monthly performance series he founded in 2003.

Arnal holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Music Composition and Filmmaking from The University of Maryland and MFA in Music from Bennington College. Currently he lives in Asheville, NC with his wife, Estelle and their two kids. He works as the Executive Director of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.

2021 radio interview with Mike Watt (Minutemen/Firehouse) on the Watt from Pedro show: Listen to the interview.

Press Links

All About Jazz - 12/2011 Silver Ash
Squid's Ear - 12/2011 Silver Ash review
The Wire - 1/2010 Generate Records
All About Jazz - New York - 8/2009
Jeff Arnal : CD Roundup - One Final Note 2005

Selected Discography

• (2012) Pail Bug with Dietrich Eichmann, John Hughes, Astrid Weins (CD) - Generate
• (2011) Silver Ash with Aaron Dugan, Casey Block (7") - Generate
• (2009) Brooklyn Mantra with Ernesto Diaz-Infante (7") - Generate
• (2009) Quadrologues with Seth Misterka, Nate Wooley, Reuben Radding (CD) - Clean Feed
• (2009) Dog Day with Aaron Dugan (CD) - C3R Records
• (2007) Live in Hamburg with Dietrich Eichmann (LP) - Broken Research
• (2006) Rogue States with Gordon Beeferman (CD) - Generate
• (2006) MEJA with Michael Evans (CD) - C3R Records
• (2006) Looking in My Ear with Lars Scherzberg, John Hughes (CD) - Creative Sources
• (2006) Transit with Seth Misterka, Nate Wooley, Reuben Radding (CD) - Clean Feed
• (2004) Red with Seth Misterka, Chris Dahlgren (3" CD) - Generate
• (2004) Mogami with Ryan Smith (CD) - Public Eyesore
• (2004) Rara Avis with Seth Misterka, Gordon Beeferman (CD) - Generate
• (2004) The Temperature Dropped Again with Dietrich Eichmann (CD) - Leo
• (2002) Tripwire with Lars Scherzberg, John Hughes (CD) - Generate
• (2001) Spy Satellite with John Dierker, Jonathan Vincent (CD) - Generate
• (2001) Top Floor Encounter with Lars Scherzberg, John Hughes (CD) Oaksmus
• (2001) Bodies of Water with Gordon Beeferman (CD) - Generate
• (2001) Badlands with Blaise Siwula, Vattel Cherry (CD) - Cadence Jazz
• (2000) Red Room with John Dierker (CDr) - Generate
• (1999) Generations Duo with Philip Wofford (CDr) - Generate

Jeff Arnal Trio with John Dierker and Gordon Beeferman

Vision Festival 13 (7:19)

Pail Bug gen 18

Fifth Pail (7:06)

Silver Ash gen 17

Live on WFMU - Lifeboat / Intermission (9:22)