Photo by Kevin Misevis, courtesy Iris Brooks
Iris Brooks specializes in cultural reporting. A year in Asia studying bamboo flutes led her to folk drumming with untouchables on the roof of a mud hut in Benares, India and compelled her to begin writing. Her research into Asian flutes also led to more formal concert appearances as a flutist at Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Institution, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, and the Joyce Theater. Internationally she has performed in China, Canada, Bali, Belgium, Java, Japan, Iceland, England, Holland, and Egypt. Other musical adventures include a pennywhistle serenade for penguins in Antarctica, a gamelan concert at Borobudur (a walk-through Buddhist mandala), and a “sound safari” concert with the birds of Zimbabwe while paddling down the Zambezi River. She has served as the editor-in-chief of EAR Magazine, program editor of the Lincoln Center Festival, and public relations editor of the New York Philharmonic. Over 100 of her music, arts and travel articles have appeared in a variety of magazines. Her book, New Music Across America was published by the California Institute of the Arts. Her writing for Jali Kunda: Griots of West Africa and Beyond (Ellipsis Arts) was nominated by NAIRD for best liner notes in 1996. Whenever possible, she tries to quiet her mind.