Sarah Peebles' strongest influences come from Japanese culture. This composer of mixed media and electro-acoustic pieces loves to work on lush, ambient moods, drawing on nature and field recordings, and the sound of the shô, a traditional Japanese mouth organ. Peebles has two solo albums to her credit: Suspended in Amber (1996) and Insect Groove (2002).
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1964, Peebles studied violin, composition, and theater before completing a Bachelor of Music in composition at the University of Michigan School of Music (Ann Arbor) in 1988. Her interest in interdisciplinary performance developed early, but the key to her art is her infatuation with Japanese culture. Between 1985 and 1993, she made extended stays in Tokyo, studying gagaku, bugaku, and other forms of court music (she was given a Japan Foundation Uchida Fellowship for 1992-1993). There she also learned to play the shô, a peculiar instrument around which she based her compositional cycle Suspended in Amber, released in 1996 by Innova Recordings.
In 1990, Peebles moved to Toronto, Canada. At first without many musical partners, she began to rely on the sampler and later, the computer for composition and live performance. Active in environmental circles, she staged a number of performances in alternative settings emphasizing environmental concerns. In 1996, she teamed up with guitarist Nilan Perera and visual artist Chung Gong Ha. As Cinnamon Sphere, this trio performed live music and calligraphy and toured America and Japan. In 1999, the English composer and author David Toop commissioned a piece from Peebles, which was released on his album Hot Pants Idol. Other recent collaborators include Jin Hi Kim, Kô Ishikawa, Pauline Oliveros, and Tina Kiik. Insect Groove, released in 2002, focuses on Peebles' computer music. ~ François Couture