Sean Griffin lives and works in Los Angeles. Encompassing many languages, styles, media and forms, Griffin's unique compositional works rely on interdisciplinary incongruities positioned at the intersection of sound, image, performance and the archive. His works manifest as music, large and small-scale operas, collaborative installations, complex numeric choreographies and historically weighted musical/performance works.
His works have been commissioned and presented internationally by venues including Los Angeles' REDCAT, Armand Hammer Museum, and LACMA, June in Buffalo, Berlin's Volksbühne, Secession Vienna, London's Royal Academy and the Tate Modern, Festival d'Avignon, Taipei City Arts Festival, Walker Art Center, Centre Pompidou, and Festival BOM 2010 in Seoul, Korea, and EMPAC. He received an MFA from CalArts and a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He studied with Mel Powell, Chaya Czernowin and George Lewis.
"Cold Spring was a mind-bending, jaw-dropping show. It was conceptualized by Sean Griffin who is not just a dramatist,composer or director. He is a multi-disciplianry artist – and technician – whose universe goes far beyond the traditional, and so what he puts on stage is only part of the picture. His works are far more than theatre, embracing choreography,music and projections into more of an experience...One could not help but hark back to other groundbreaking works such as Tony Kushner's Angels in America. In Cold Spring as in Angels, we see unlikely juxtapositions. For Griffin it is Carl Sagan and the Tribes of Ishmael; for Kushner it is Roy Cohen and Ethel Rosenberg. Both have flying actors who descend into the action on stage: for Kushner it is the Angel who announces the Millennium, for Griffin, an actor with horns who could well be the stand in for the Devil."
Berkshire on Stage
"Simple and direct ideas are spun into a byzantine structure, evoking the labyrinthine path trod by our crudest urges on their way to sublimation in civilization's alienating systems of social control. The chirps, whoops, grunts, gutturals and high-pitched squeals emanating from the characters' mouths over Griffin's unforgettably beautiful score, coupled with their spastic jerks and tremors under the starched linens of the working class and the silken finery of the overlords (think of Lars von Trier's The Idiots in period dress), are reminders that the line between brutishness and enlightenment is extraordinarily thin."
"Musically, we're in radically different territory too, with Sean Griffin's "Snake River Suite," a vibrant and jarring contemporary composition incorporating traditional orchestral instruments as well as synthesizer and a diverse percussion section. The rehearsal was filmed locally in the dark, moody Orpheum Theater.
During the two-hour span of the video, a nonverbal narrative unfurls, a loose progression from the intimate to the more detached, from sensual toward mechanical, organic to constructed, and in terms of aesthetic sensibility, from romantic to modern. Those contrasts suggest themselves through what Gaines and Arceneaux show us, not through anything they tell us."
The Los Angeles Times
"…a mesmerizing, comical, and thrillingly bizarre meditation on the tics and tropes that make up what we call "character" and "relationship."
The New Yorker
"…a strong but completely abstract psychological drama, The Chittendens swivels through film noir, sea-faring adventures, and other genres, all while alternating themes of internal and external discovery."
"D-Pattern … makes visible the way that individuality inevitably surfaces as habit or tics, offering an ambiguous affirmation of the existence of some kind of static essence of being."