Shanna Pranaitis creates profoundly moving immersive concert experiences by integrating new and historically reimagined works with theater, movement, lighting and storytelling. Championing that the most traditional path for any artist is to engage with and create the art of their own time, Shanna is a radically traditional flutist who uses flutes as an interface to fearlessly explore the growth edges of sonic possibility.
Close collaborations with composers, poets, movement artists, and other interdisciplinary artists around the world have led to recitals and performances on five of the seven continents. She has been a featured performer at such festivals as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL) and Darmstädter Ferienkurse (DE), and performed in such hallowed halls as Carnegie Hall and the Tonhalle Zürich.
Shanna is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of FluteXpansions, the first comprehensive e-learning platform of its kind with resources for the frontier of contemporary flute performance and composition. Through innovative workshops and a revolutionary online group program, FX Sonic Immersion, Shanna leads a passionate community with a team of renowned faculty coaches at the convergence of fearless sonic exploration and trailblazing artistic coaching.
More recently, Shanna pivoted from relying solely on performing and teaching to expand the boundaries of the Classical music world, to utilizing all of her multi-hyphenate experience as a means to facilitate industry-wide change as an arts entrepreneurship coach. Shanna helps artists maximize their independence and illuminate their boundless potential to live creatively fulfilled and financially empowered while powerfully anchored in their own authenticity and authority.
Her “remarkable” (Memeteria) debut solo CD of Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf’s works for flute (NEOS) has been hailed as a “virtuoso testimony” (Musicalifeiten) and features world premiere recordings of three works written expressly for Shanna. Her growing discography includes solo and chamber works that span a wide-range of aesthetic styles and will soon include a second solo album of groundbreaking works for electronics and Kingma open-hole bass flute.
Often a founder, an initiator, and at the forefront, Shanna was the Development Director and a founding member of Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, the first ensemble ever awarded the prestigious Kranichsteiner Musikpreis for Interpretation (2012) at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse. After her tenure with the ensemble, Shanna went on to form the trans-Atlantic chamber ensembles Sonic Hedgehog (Chicago/Amsterdam) and Collect/Project (Chicago/Germany), and the inimitable duo Memoria Nova with pianist Andrew Rosenblum to perform experimental and boundary-breaking works.
A passionate advocate for marginalized voices, she co-curated and co-organized the multi-day festival of Galina Ustvolskaya Festival: Power In Sound (2017), lauded as a “rarity, the first in-depth exploration of the composer in the United States and only the second in the West. In a word: Go.” (Chicago tribune)
Shanna forged her own path of study by pursuing extended private study in contemporary performance with Matthias Ziegler in Switzerland after graduating from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. Other notable mentors and influences include Camilla Hoitenga, Philippe Racine, and Kathinka Pasveer. She was a fellow of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival. Her formative stud was under the tutelage of Dolores Humberg and Monty Adams, to whom she is eternally grateful.
Shanna performs on instruments made by the only two female flute makers in the industry: Burkart flute and open-hole piccolo (specially modified for her) and Kingma open-hole bass and alto flutes.
©Karjaka Studios, Aleks Karjaka
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