Lisa Schonberg was born in 1977 in Staten Island, USA, and is based in Portland where she lives and works. She is a percussionist, composer, writer, teacher, and natural historian. 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 and focused on ant biodiversity in the Neotropics. When she worked as a field biologist, her attention was drawn to soundscapes; and as a drummer, she longed to use her skills in performance and composition to protect wild places. She now integrates her interests through creative documentation of soundscapes, insects, and habitat, with the goal of drawing attention to issues concerning endangered species, habitat loss, and other environmental issues. Lisa’s place-based compositions are performed by her percussion and noise ensemble Secret Drum Band and in solo performance. Lisa co-directs the artist collective Environmental Impact Statement, which asks artists to respond to development on public lands and interjects artist work into environmental policy-making. Collaboration is central to her process, and she has engaged with dancers, filmmakers, fashion designers, and visual artists in her work.
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 is the magazine’s Northwest Correspondent. Her past bands include STLS and Kickball, and she has performed or otherwise collaborated with Nadia Buyse/DUBAIS, Thao With The Get Down Stay Down, Taka Yamamoto, Danielle Ross, Mirah, Tara Jane Oneil, Tuneyards, Cloud Eye Control, and Janet Pants, among others. Lisa has received three grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, two career development grants from the Oregon Arts Commisson, and one award from The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts. She has completed artist residencies with Labverde (Manaus, Brazil), at A-Z West (Joshua Tree, CA), and Signal Fire. She has performed at MOMA PS1, the Centre Pompidou, High Desert Test Sites, The Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, the TBA Festival (Portland), and 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.