Calgary-born violinist Parmela Attariwala interweaves life as a performer-creator, academic, and music educator. Parmela trained formally in violin performance at Indiana University and in Bern, Switzerland, and studied ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (UK) and the University of Toronto (Ph.D.). Her creative work explores the liminal space between musical genres, artistic disciplines, and identities; often using improvisation as a point of departure. She has recorded three critically-acclaimed Attar Project albums featuring works for violin and tabla. Parmela has also collaborated extensively with choreographers (bharata-natyam, butoh and contact) as composer and movement artist. More recently, she has been creating musical responses to visual art installations, including those of Jeffrey Gibson, NepSidhu, Luciana Santos, Peter Morin, and Ayumi Goto.
Over the past year, Parmela has been immersed in discussions on radically reimagining the Canadian musical ecosystem, from education through performance and presentation. Sprinkled in-between have been restorative projects, including creating music for dance, virtual reality installations and an opera. Along with Germaine Liu and Nicole Rampersaud, Parmela also founded Understory (https://understorysound.ca ) this year, an online collaborative creation network for Canadian improvising artists.
After 25 years based in Toronto, Parmela moved to the west coast in 2019 in order to be near family. She is grateful to be living and creating on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, and for the opportunities she has been given to contribute to the artistic community here.