Ysanne Spevack (born June 24, 1972) is a British violinist, composer and string arranger best known for her work recordings for the Smashing Pumpkins, Dub Gabriel featuring Michael Stipe, Tiesto, and Asian Dub Foundation. She was born a British citizen, but moved to the United States of America in 2004.
She lives in Los Angeles, where she has shaped a career arranging strings and playing acoustic and electric violin, and composing original music for soundtracks, notably for the BBC and Channel 4. Her performance and arranging work touches upon several genres, including orchestral, rock music, pop music, world music, and film scores.
Her most recent album is entitled Soundzero, and is a collaboration with Philip Clemo.
Ysanne Spevack was raised in London, where she studied piano, violin and guitar. Her great uncle, Edward Summers, was a professional violinist who played for silent movies, and her cousin is classical violinist Geoffrey Trabichoff, formerly leader of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She began touring Europe aged 13, playing classical repertoire including Mozart, Vivaldi and Haydn.
After studying CuBase and Music Technology at Community Music school, with teachers Aniruddha Das and Steve Chandra Savale, she traveled to Northern India, studying classical Indian music and sitar in the city of Varanasi. In 1995, Spevack began to play electric violin with electronics for many producers and DJs in the underground Acid House, Techno and Drum and Bass music scenes of London, notably with Sister Bliss from Faithless, Tiesto, Talvin Singh, T Power and Tsuyoshi Suzuki.
Rock, Pop and Soundtrack Composing Career:
Ysanne began her recording career in 1996 by recording and releasing her first studio album, under the moniker Mee. In 1997 she began collaborating with Philip Clemo and released the album Sound - Inhale the Colours with him. Later that year on the 25th of June, Ysanne played electric violin with Laurie Anderson at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the South Bank' Meltdown Festival, curated by Anderson.
In 1999 she recorded another album with Philip Clemo, Soundzero, which was not released until 2008. The same year she participated to various neofolk compilations, notably The Pact ...Of the Gods (Fremdheit), Torture Garden - Bizarre & Eccentric (Torture Garden Records), and the split single with Death in June We Said Destroy as part of the band Fire + Ice. She also produced the music on the album Time Dragons, a spoken word album.
In 2001, she composed soundtracks for the Discovery Channel's Lonely Planet Guides. In 2003, Spevack was invited to perform electric violin for Peter Sellars at the Venice Biennale. This led her to being invited to arrange strings and record electric violin for a new work for the English National Opera. She moved to America the year after.
In 2008, she played violin, viola and electric violin for visual artist Doug Aitken's work 'sleepwalkers'. The film featured Tilda Swinton, Donald Sutherland and Cat Power, and premiered at MoMA in New York.
In 2009, Spevack recorded the track Salahadeen with the Master Musicians of Joujouka, David J and Dub Gabriel. The same year she was also the string contractor for Ray Bradbury's 'Chrysalis' and toured with David J.
In 2010 she directed the music and sang live at the Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art for visual performance artist Vanessa Beecroft's work VB68. It was the 68th work where Beecroft arranged nude women as art, but the 1st work where any of the women have made a noise of any kind. The performance lasted for two hours, with Spevack singing and vocalizing Beecroft's manifesto. The same year she composed the soundtracks to two full-length feature films: To Be Friends for brothers Jim and Aaron Eckhart, and The Owls for Cheryl Dunye and her strings were commissioned for HBO's Big Love. She also played strings on the Smashing Pumpkins Teargarden by Kaleidyscope EP series.
In September 2011, Ysanne joined David J and Ego Plum to play music for the Los Angeles stage production of The Chanteuse and the Devil's Muse, and in November 2011, she will join David for the Los Angeles stage production of Silver for Gold and the Redcat Theater.David J is playing bass guitar on Ysanne's new album, Coldwater, which is in progress.