Lisa Schonberg was born in 1977 in Staten Island, New York. She is a composer, percussionist, field recordist, teacher, and writer with a background in entomology and ecology. She started playing drums as a child, studied ecology and entomology through college and graduate school, and has since traveled extensively to carry out fieldwork and perform. She earned her Masters in Environmental Studies at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA with a focus on ant biodiversity in the Neotropics. She documents soundscapes, insects, and habitat through music composition, writing, and multimedia collaboration. She strives to draw attention to endangered species, habitat loss, and other environmental issues through a merging of artistic and scientific practices, often in collaboration with ecologists. Lisa recently returned from a third year of field work with ATTA (Amplifying the Tropical Ants), a project in collaboration with Brazilian entomologists investigating ant bioacoustics in the Amazon. Lisa is very interested in the ecological and cultural relevance of “sons escondidos” (hidden sounds) and how they can impact our perception of non-human species and our decision-making processes. Lisa’s place-based compositions are performed by her ensembles Secret Drum Band and UAU. She also composes in collaboration with mutli-instrumentalist Kristina Dutton in their socially engaged project Pattern Ecology. Lisa co-directed the artist collective Environmental Impact Statement, which asks artists to respond to development on public lands and interjects artist work into environmental policy-making.
Lisa is the author of The DIY Guide to Drums, The Hylaeus Project: A Documentation of the Endangered Native Bees of Hawaii, and Fieldguided, a series of books on insects and their habitats. She is a regular contributor to Tom Tom Magazine and She Shreds magazine. Her past bands include Explode into Colors, STLS and Kickball, and she has performed with DUBAIS, Thao With The Get Down Stay Down, Taka Yamamoto, Mirah, Tara Jane Oneil, Tuneyards, Cloud Eye Control, and Peter Broderick with Gabriel Saloman, among others. Lisa has received support from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission, The Oregon Community Foundation, Calligram, and The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts. She has completed artist residencies at the Banff Centre, Labverde (Manaus, Brazil), HJ Andrews Experimental Forest (OR), Spring Creek Project (OR), A-Z West (Joshua Tree, CA), and Signal Fire. She has performed at The American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, the Pompidou, High Desert Test Sites, the Time-Based Arts Festival (Portland), Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and has presented lectures throughout the US and in Brazil. Lisa currently resides in Portland, Oregon and teaches private drum lessons at Revival Drum Shop.