Nadene Pita is a Ngātiwai musician, composer, improvisor and performing artist. She works in contemporary, intercultural music, experimental jazz, cross-disciplinary productions, theater and dance.
She has been awarded a 2023 Emerging Artist Fellowship by the California Arts Council.
Her training as a vocalist and viola player in jazz and classical music is evident in her album, Turning Arrows into Flowers. Via South Pacific harmonies, a Māori chant, and a duet with her young daughter, her voice carries us through chamber pieces, a tango, mutated funk and free electroacoustic improvisations. Reflective of Nadene's mixed heritage as a New Zealander growing up in Queensland, Australia; of her Maori and Irish descent, a splash of Portuguese on her father’s side.
Ongoing collaborations include a new electroacoustic solo project, Wood and Bone (referring to the materials most used in the creation of traditional Māori instruments). Meditations on family, nature, lineage and identity, incorporating Māori instrumentation, a five string viola, theater, dance, and video collage.
Also upcoming recordings and performances with Tibetan monk, Lama Tashi Nobu, where the combination of the sacred and experimental informs their work together.
Nadene performed regularly with the master multi-instrumentalist and composer David Ornette Cherry, who passed away unexpectedly when in the London Jazz Festival for a tribute to his illustrious father, Don Cherry, in December 2022. As a member of David Ornette Cherry's Organic Nation Listening Club she performed in September 2022 for an interdisciplinary concert at the historic venue, The World Stage in Leimert Park, Los Angeles for his last U.S. performance. She played with them at the 43rd Annual Watts Towers Jazz Festival and she is featured in his latest recording, Organic Nation Listening Club – The Continual released on Spiritmuse Records in October 2021.
Nadene is collaborates with leading Indigenous Arts Company, Red Sky Performance as a cross-cultural, improviser, composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist. She was recently on tour with Red Sky's production, Trace, which depicts Anishinaabe sky and star creation stories told through dance and music, in a multidisciplinary production during the Fall/Winter 2021. She collaborated on Red Sky's concert, Truth 2 Power, in Toronto.
Nadene has also performed in an improvising trio with dancer Heidi Pendergast and harpist/vocalist Nailah Hunter.
An avid music educator, Nadene teaches string orchestras, choir and general music in under-served communities for the non-profit organization Education Through Music - Los Angeles. Her student Eloise Wong is a member of rock band, The Linda Lindas. She was a teaching artist at the Los Angeles Philharmonic's signature 'El Sistema' program - YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) at HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles) in the Rampart District of Los Angeles, where she was the teacher of Anthony Gonzales who stars as Miguel in the 2017 Disney/Pixar movie, Coco.
Nadene is on the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture’s list of artists, arts organizations, and other community-based organizations qualified to provide healing-centered arts services for justice-impacted adults and their families. As a practicing culture-bearer, she also incorporates mindfulness and her experience as a meditation teacher into her performances and classes. She has regularly performed with Michel Pascal for parolees at Amity Foundation campuses as part of it's meditation program.
Nadene holds an MA in Contemporary Cross-Cultural Improvisation.
"Rarely does a new voice of such originality and unusual approach appear."
- The Australian