Kamala Sankaram

Image of Kamala Sankaram
Visiting Faculty

Known for her “inventive instrumental colors and tender, snappy vocal writing” (The New York Times), composer Kamala Sankaram moves freely between the worlds of experimental music and contemporary opera.


Constantly pushing the limits of form, Sankaram's works include Singin’ Sing-in, an app and notation system for non-musicians to compose and perform music together. The Last Stand, a 10-hour opera created for the trees of Prospect Park, Looking at You, a techno-noir featuring live datamining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers, all decisions will be made by consensus, one of the first live performances over Zoom, and The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera. Sankaram's music has been heard across the United States and internationally, including premieres at the Rotterdam O. Festival, the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, LA Opera, and the Minnesota Opera, among others.

Also, an accomplished performer, Sankaram has been hailed as "an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes" (Wall Street Journal). Notable collaborations include Anthony Braxton’s Theater Improvisations, Trillium E, Trillium J, and GTM (Syntax) 2017; Meredith Monk’s Atlas with the LA Philharmonic, The Wooster Group’s LA DIDONE (Kaaitheater, Brussels, Edinburgh International Festival, Rotterdam Schouberg, Grand Théâtre de la Ville, Luxembourg, St. Anne’s Warehouse, NY, REDCAT, Los Angeles), and the PROTOTYPE Festival’s THUMBPRINT (Baruch Performing Arts, NY, REDCAT, Los Angeles), among others. Sankaram is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble whose accolades include two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards, the 2018 Mid-Atlantic touring grant, and appearances on WFMU and NPR. Sankaram holds a Ph.D. from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculties at the Mannes College of Music and SUNY Purchase. She is visiting faculty member at Bennington for Fall 2023.