Discipline: Music Composition

Bobby Previte

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013

Bobby Previte began his life onstage at the 1956 Niagara Falls Talent Show, belting out a solo rendition of Elvis Presley’s "Hound Dog" while draped in an over-sized suit. Thinking music might be a way to attract girls, he fashioned a drum set from a rusted garbage can, two aluminum pie plates, a wire coat hanger, and some plungers. A year later he founded the “Devil’s Disciples,” but was fired from their first gig for not having ‘real’ drums. Seeking revenge, he took a job as a paperboy and a year later bought the Rogers kit he still uses today.

Strolling in the East Village one bright 70s afternoon, he peered inside a limo stuck in traffic (crosstown) and suddenly found himself face to face with Jimi Hendrix. Thinking fast, he unfurled the poster of Jimi he had fortunately just acquired, then looked on in astonishment as Hendrix smiled and flashed him the peace sign. All the rest, as they say, is noise.

NOISE: 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, NEA, NYFA, NYSCA, Jerome, Franklin Furnace, LMCC, NY State Music Fund, American Music Center, New Music USA, Rockefeller Foundation Study Center, Bellagio, Italy, Civitella Ranieri, MacDowell, Montalvo Arts Center. Three hundred plus original compositions recorded and released on Sony, Elektra, Rykodisc, Palmetto, New World, Ropeadope, Thirsty Ear. Collaborations in and outside the music world: contracting the ensemble for the premiere of John Adams’ opera I Was Looking at the Ceiling; acting with William Shatner in "The Mute Marine" skit on SNL; creating the signature bass marimba line on "Clap Hands" from Tom Waits’ classic Rain Dogs; appearing as “The Drummer” in Robert Altman’s film Short Cuts; and, the internet swears, recording with Iggy Pop, although he can’t seem to remember that, exactly. His latest recording, Terminals, concertos for percussion ensemble and soloists featuring SO Percussion, Zeena Parkins, Greg Osby, Nels Cline, and John Medeski, was released on Cantaloupe Records in October 2014.



Bobby Previte worked in the Adams studio.

Given to the MacDowell Association by Margaret Adams of Chicago, the half-timbered, stuccoed Adams Studio was designed by MacDowell Fellow and architect F. Tolles Chamberlin ca. 1914. Chamberlin was primarily a painter, but also provided designs for the Lodge and an early renovation of the main hall. The studio’s structural integrity was restored during a thorough renovation in…

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