artist statement

I’m a New York City based violinist specializing in contemporary music, interdisciplinary projects, and socially engaged artistry. I’m fascinated by the often-overlooked meaning made by musicians’ performing bodies, the effect of power structures in my field, and the nature of collaborative relationships in our creative work. I center the personal and social in my interpretative practice, learning from and responding to the work of other artists exploring critical race, disability, queer and feminist theory. I seek to better understand my own “violin-ness” – its old ways that root deep in the body and produce complex responses – and orient it toward new areas of discovery.


Pala Garcia (she/they) is a critically acclaimed violinist, balancing performing, commissioning and recording with her work as an educator and advocate of socially conscious artistry. She was recently featured in the Washington Post’s “23 for ’23: Composers and Performers to Watch this Year,” and has also earned accolades from other notable publications as a contemporary music specialist and co-founder of Longleash, an “expert young trio” (Strad Magazine) with two highly acclaimed releases in its discography: a debut album, Passage, that earned them Sequenza 21’s Best New Recording Artist of 2017, and a work on the album Soft Aberration, named a Notable Recording of 2017 by The New Yorker.
Their work has been recognized and supported by Chamber Music America, the Alice K. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Amphion Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Puffin Foundation, the Atherton Family Foundation, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Grants from the Music Academy of the West.

Pala has performed as a featured artist throughout Asia, Europe and North America, and has also performed as a regular guest in some of the world’s most respected ensembles, including the the International Contemporary Ensemble, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, her longstanding involvement with Carnegie Hall’s social impact programs has led to meaningful artistic collaborations with New Yorkers from all walks of life, making music, celebrating creativity and building community in prisons, shelters and hospitals.

A debut solo album featuring the music of Peter Kramer will forthcoming in 2023 on New Focus Recordings, with support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

Pala serves on the violin faculties of the Juilliard School’s Preparatory Division and Hunter College, and was a Senior Teaching Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center. As a co-director of Longleash’s Loretto Project, Pala also leads its Pathways Initiative, a high-school composition workshop invested in addressing issues of gender justice and representation. She is an alum of the Juilliard School and is currently a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she was also recently granted a certificate in Women’s Studies.