Sam Pluta


Assistant Professor of Composition; Director, Computer Music Studio


D.M.A., Columbia University, 2012; B.A.S, Santa Clara University; M.M., University of Texas at Austin; M.Phil., University of Birmingham


Office: Goodspeed Hall 201
Phone: (773) 702-8668


Sam Pluta is a composer and electronics performer whose work explores the intersections between instrumental forces, reactive computerized sound worlds, traditionally notated scores, improvisation, audio-visuals, psycho-acoustic phenomena, and installation-like soundscapes.

Since 2009, Sam has served as Technical Director and composing member of Wet Ink Ensemble, one of the premiere new music ensembles in the United States. With Wet Ink, he has written numerous works, premiered compositions by some of the leading composers of today, and performed electro-acoustic masterworks of the past century. In addition to his work with Wet Ink, Sam has received commissions and written music for groups like the New York Philharmonic, Yarn/Wire, Ensemble Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Mantra Percussion, and Spektral Quartet. 

Laptop improvisation is a core part of Pluta’s artistic practice. Performing on his custom software instrument, the Live Modular Instrument, he has toured internationally with Rocket Science, the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, and the Peter Evans Quintet, and for the past three years was named the top electronics performer in the world by the El Intruso International Critics Poll of jazz journalists. His sound-based approach to improvisation complements the timbre-rich playing of his collaborators, resulting in an improvised music with simultaneous roots in jazz, noise, and musique concrète.

Sam appears as a composer and performer on over twenty albums of new music and jazz, many of which are release on his label, Carrier Records. He has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation and the Barlow Endowment and has participated in residencies at The MacDowell Colony and iPark.

Sam received his D.M.A. from Columbia University, where he studied with George Lewis, Brad Garton, and Tristan Murail. He also holds a B.A.S. in Music and Computer Science from Santa Clara University, an M.M. from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.Phil. from the University of Birmingham (UK).

Sam is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Chicago, where he teaches composition and directs the CHIME Studio. He is also Visiting Researcher at the University of Huddersfield in the UK.

Please visit his personal website:

Selected Works:

  • binary/momentary ii: flow state/joy state for brass, piano, and percussion, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic
  • delay/line for flute and electronics, commissioned for Anne La Berge by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition
  • Seven Systems for 2 pianos, 2 percussion, and electronics commissioned for Yarn/Wire by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University
  • hydra for violin, piano, fixed media, and live electronics, written for Wet Ink
  • MODULES, co-composed with Jeff Snyder, for 2 trumpets, horn, tuba, percussion, and live electronics, commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble
  • Chain Reactions/Five Events for string quartet and live electronics commissioned by the Lucerne Festival and Mivos Quartet
  • Machine Language for percussion soloist, 2 percussion, 2 bass clarinets, 2 violins, accordion, and electronics, commissioned by Ian Antonio
  • binary/momentary logics: flow state/joy state for string quartet, commissioned by Spektral Quartet
  • Four Sixes for percussion sextet, commissioned by the Brookfield and Mantra Percussion
  • Portraits/Self Portraits for large ensemble, written for Wet Ink Ensemble

Selected Discography:

  • Genesis – Peter Evans Quintet - More is More Records
  • Yarn/Wire Currents 3 – Yarn/Wire - Yarn/Wire Currents
  • Seven – Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Septet - Les Disques Victo
  • Event Horizon - Sam Pluta and Peter Evans - Carrier Records
  • Destination: Void - Peter Evans Quintet - More is More Records
  • Rocket Science - Evan Parker, Craig Taborn, Peter Evans, and Sam Pluta - More is More Records           
  • Archaea - exclusiveOr: Sam Pluta and Jeff Snyder - Carrier Records
  • RELAY – Wet Ink Ensemble - Carrier Records
  • Machine LanguageWet Ink Ensemble, TimeTable Percussion, Mivos Quartet - Carrier Records
  • sum and difference – Peter Evans, Sam Pluta, and Jim Altieri - Carrier Records
  • Ghosts – Peter Evans Quintet - More is More Records
  • Tone Builders - Yarn/Wire - Carrier Records
  • Drone Level Orange – Glissando bin Laden - Carrier Records
  • Wet Ink Ensemble – Wet Ink Ensemble - Carrier Records
  • The Language Of – Dave Eggar and Payton MacDonald - quiet design records
  • exclusiveOr exclusiveOr: Sam Pluta and Jeff Snyder - quiet design records