Carla Kihlstedt is a songwriter, composer, singer and violinist.

She’s a founding member of the bands Tin Hat, Rabbit Rabbit, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Book of Knots, Causing a Tiger, Minamo, Fred Frith’s Cosa Brava and 2 Foot Yard. She’s written a song cycle for the International Contemporary Ensemble about dreams, a musical/radio piece for the ROVA Saxophone Quartet about the coming of the machine age, a piece about the advent of communications technology for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, an impressionistic audio travelogue for Causing a Tiger, a song cycle with poet Rafael Osés based on Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings called Necessary Monsters, and a score for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s production of Romeo and Juliet, for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award.

She’s performed at many festivals in North America and Europe, including the Armenian Gallery Festival, the Vancouver, San Francisco, and Saalfelden Jazz Festivals, and the Ojai, Moers, Caramoor, and Other Minds Music Festivals. In addition to her own albums and those of her various bands and projects, she has contributed to the recordings of Fred Frith, Tom Waits, Mr. Bungle, Tracy Chapman, Pretty Lights, Carla Bozulich and Madeleine Peyroux. She is the vocalist for Jeremy Flower’s song cycle The Real Me, Ben Goldberg’s song cycle, Orphic Machine, and has performed Sarah Kirkland-Snider’s Penelope.

Photo by Peter Gannushkin


BA | Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Andy Jaffe

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Lisa Mezzacappa

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Rob Frankenberry

Residency Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Don DiNicola

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

John Fitz Rogers

Core Faculty, MFA in Music Composition

Roger Zahab

Faculty Co-Chair, MFA in Music Composition