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Maria Sappho is a Puerto Rican American, originally from Brooklyn, NY currently working as an improviser, artist and researcher in the UK. She is a member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO) and founding member of the Noisebringers ensemble (CH/UK). She is a winner of the  BBC Radiophophonic Daphne Oram award (2021), Dewar awards (2018) and New Piano Stars Competition (2015). She has worked with a number of large ensembles; International Contemporary Ensemble (US), BBC Scottish symphony orchestra, Australian Art Orchestra, and the Instant Composers Pool (ND).

Currently Maria's work is deeply involved in experimental AI where she has an ongoing collaboration with the world's only multi-modal creative AI named Chimere. 

Maria is a doctoral candidate at Huddersfield University, on the European Research Council project IRiMaS where she continues her work in advocating/platforming artists via her Feminist Free Improvisation Archive, (for women and non-binary artists), curating for Mopomoso TV (oldest running free improvisation series in the UK) and co-editing the monthly political arts magazine the Mass.

Maria was, not too long ago, a classical pianist, studying at Laguardia Highschool  often known for it's representation in the 'Fame' movies. She then moved to the UK to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she gained both her Undergraduate (hon. first class) and Masters degree. She is now a PhD candidate at Huddersfield University under the ERC funded project IRiMaS .

Maria has won several awards including the Governors Recital Prize, the New Piano Stars competition, the Dewar Awards, and the BBC radiophonic Daphne Oram Awards. 

Education and Awards

Maria Sappho is a Newyorican artist currently working in the UK. Specializing in multi-species collaborative projects at the intersection of human-machine-organic communication. Maria is a pioneer of what she calls ‘transspecies listening’ where she develops an instrument building practice and compositional style that develops music through more than human listening practices. Her work is often made in partnership with the AI Chimere, which she continues to assist in developing, while also exploring sonic ecosystems with fungi. Maria's collaborations with AI and mushrooms have garnered international acclaim, with premieres at the Theatre Snt. Gervais (2021, CH) and the UNESCO Week of Sound (2023, UK) and the Creative Climate awards in NYC (2023). She has also shared her trasnpecies listening practices in workshops around the world including hcmf// (2023, UK), at the HUB (2023, LS) and at the Lucy Hale Festival for music, technology and disability (2024, UK). 

Beyond her work as a luthier and transpecies composer and improviser, Maria has also collaborated with ensembles around the world including the International Contemporary Ensemble (USA) the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Art Orchestra (AU). She is a core member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and a founding member of the Noisebringers ensemble. Notably, she also serves as the current keyboard replacement for the Scottish post-rock band Mogwai. Maria's contributions extend beyond the stage as she actively promotes gender diversity in improvisational music through her Feminist Free Improvisation Archive, curates for Mopomoso at the Vortex Jazz Bar and is a co-editor of the politically engaged arts magazine, the Mass. 

Maria has been recognized for her work with the prize for best new composition with AI for her AI Opera ‘Incheon’ premiered at the AiiA festival (2021, CH) and as a winner of the BBC Radiophonic Daphne Oram award (2021).


Maria recently completed her PhD at Huddersfield University under the ERC funded project IRiMaS (interactive research in music as sound) headed. Supervised by Michael Clarke, and Amanda Bayley.  'The Improvisers Cookbook' looked at  tracking social processes in a global network of experimental improvised practices. Maria is now a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Huddersfield on the Digital Playgrounds for Music project (DPfM).

Maria is also in ongoing research around telematic music and digital music creation of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, alongside Raymond MacDonald, Tia DeNora, Robert Burke, and Ross Birrell. And a co-founder of the Chimere Communities arts and research project developing artistic hubs for marginalised communities work in art and AI practices across South Africa, Lesotho, Switzerland and the UK.

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