Dana Reason is described by Downbeat Magazine as “having a voice as a composer and instrumentalist that is firmly her own.” (Tangari).
Reason collaborates with scientists, engineers; directors and visual and media artists. Working with Dr. Jerri Bartholomew (OSU Microbiology), in 2017, Reason created the work “Translation” for violin, piano and data utilizing the research data from Bartholomew on salmon. Reason also worked with Dr. Michael Baym (Harvard University) to develop new music based on his microbial data on superbugs. Reason recently created the Improvisers Collective, with OSU students, to create the music for the “Jellyfish” robots by Alexandra Bacula (Ph.D student in robotics). In 2017, Reason was awarded a commission from the High Desert Museum in Bend (Oregon Arts) to create a site-specific - large scale interactive and intermedia sound and performance work that utilizes research data on water tables and fire in Oregon. Working with several OSU scientists, visual artist, Andrew Myers, students and forest ecologist, Dr. Gregg Reigel, the piece “She Breathes Water”will premiere April 2019 and will be part of the exhibit until September, 2019.
As a film composer, performer and arranger, Reason created the original film score for: “Back to God’s Country” (1919) featuring Nell Shipman for Kino Lorber “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers.”
Reason was part of The Space Between trio with the electronic music pioneer Pauline Oliveros; is documented on over 16 recordings, and has created music for a variety of genres including: film, theatre, games and large and small ensembles. As a sound artist, Reason premiered her sound-art sculpture, UnHeard, at CEI Artworks in 2016 and Folded Subjects: Olive Rose (2017) at McGill University. Reason’s latest conceptual, social and political work: Tea & Fences: A Sonic Tea Party (2017) premiered at the Santa Monica library as part of a new collection of works: Propositional Attitudes (Golden Spike Press, 2018), edited by performance and visual artists: John Burtle and Elana Mann. Tea and Fences is a also performed on the Heart of a Forest tour in 2016, as well as appears on additional soundtracks by Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) including: Within Our Gates and Body and Soul on Pioneers of African-American Cinema (Kino-2016) and the PBS documentary soundtrack - Birth of a Movement (2017). Birth of a Movement was nominated for an Emmy in 2018. In working with composer, Paul Miller, Reason was credited as arranger for the PBS Documentary series: “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” by Dr. Henry Louis Gates (2019).
Research articles, broadcasts, reviews about her work, as well as reviews of projects she has been involved with, have appeared in: The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Times, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, as well as Oxford University Press, Columbia University Jazz Studies Online, University of Chicago Press, National Geographic, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Wesleyan University Press, Downbeat, Jazziz, and Musicworks. Reason holds a B.Mus (McGill University), an MA in Composition (Mills College), and a PhD in Critical Studies / Experimental Practices (now Integrative Studies @ University of California, San Diego).
Reason is part of the Re.Soundings trio (featuring Catherine Lee, oboe and John Savage, flute) which specializes in exploring works by living and adventurous composers. The trio recently recorded Nonaah by Roscoe Mitchell and performed with Roscoe Mitchell at the Armory in NYC. Reason is the founder and artistic director of Site of Sound: music, sound & interactivity (2018-); a cross-disciplinary initiative designed to foster contemporary and creative music performance at the Truckenbrod Gallery.
As a scholar and educator. her research and performance interests include: 20 & 21st century music practices; gender and music; post 1945 jazz; hip hop, data exploration, eco-musicology, sonic studies; intermedia: film, global musics, video, virtual reality and popular music. Reason studied piano with Joyce Langford, Willis Bodine (Harpsichord), Boaz Sharon, Julie Steinberg and Aleck Karis; composition & improvisation with Alcides Lanza, John Rea, Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, Anthony Davis, Chaya Czernowin and George. E. Lewis. Additionally, she studied critical and integrative musicology with Jann Pasler and George E. Lewis. She has taken courses with Steven Schick, Miller Puckette, and Chris Brown, among others.
As a performer and composer, she has toured extensively and appeared at Frau Musica Nova, Banff Center for the Arts, The Stone, NYC, Stanford University, UT Austin, San Francisco Jazz Festival, The Armory, Spectrum, Guanajuato University, Prague, Berlin, Wuppertal, Spring Reverb, and Is that Jazz? Festival, Reed College, ICASP, Suoni Popolo, Montreal, Guelph Jazz Festival, Western Front, and Improvisation Summit of Portland, as well as performed in Canada and Europe.
Reason holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University; a Master's in Composition from Mills College, and a Ph.D. in Critical Studies/Experimental Practices (now called Integrative Studies) from the University of California San Diego. She was the Founder and Director of Popular Music Studies at Oregon State University from 2011-2015 and is currently the coordinator of Contemporary Music and Research at OSU.