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Article

Gavin Borchert

(b Kane, PA, Feb 25, 1938; d Rhinebeck, NY, Oct 22, 2009). American composer, performer and multimedia artist. She studied composition with Rochberg at the University of Pennsylvania (BFA 1964) and with Stockhausen. A concern for physical space pervades her music, best exemplified by three ongoing multimedia installation projects. In City Links #1-22 (1967–), she transmits sounds picked up by microphones placed throughout a city to mixing facilities at a central location. The resulting sound collages are broadcast at ‘live’ performances or over the radio. Locations for this project have included Boston, Chicago, New York and, in the Netherlands, Groningen. In Music for Sound-Joined Rooms (1980–), careful loudspeaker placement within a multi-room space creates ‘structure-borne’ sound that travels through walls and floors rather than through air. As the listener walks through a site, he or she experiences multiple sonic viewpoints arranged by Amacher to produce dramatic or narrative effects. The result is electronic music theatre designed according to the architectural features of a particular building. In ...

Article

Carmen Helena Téllez

revised by Juan Orrego-Salas

(b Santiago, July 20, 1933). Chilean composer and electro-acoustic engineer. He studied at the National Conservatory in Santiago with Urrutia-Blondel (1947–56), at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik with Blacher (1959–60) and at the Badische Hochschule für Musik with Wildberger. Simultaneously he studied engineering at the Catholic University in Santiago (1953–9). As part of his dissertation, in 1959 he assembled the first electro-acoustic music laboratory in Latin America, and composed the region’s first electronic composition, Variaciones espectrales.

Asuar was the Chilean delegate to the 1960 ISCM Festival in Cologne. In 1962 he directed a seminar of electro-acoustic music in Salvador, Brazil. He was Professor of Acoustics and Contemporary Music at the National Conservatory in Santiago (1963–5). In 1964 he taught a seminar in electronic music at the di Tella Institute in Buenos Aires. From 1965 to 1968, at the invitation of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes of Venezuela, he established and directed the Instituto de Fonología, the country’s first electro-acoustic music centre....

Article

Murray Campbell

(Graham)

(b Portland, OR, April 29, 1911; d Los Angeles, Oct 28, 1988). American acoustician. After studying at Reed College, Portland (BA 1932), he undertook postgraduate study at the University of California in Berkeley (MA 1936, PhD 1940). His early research work was in nuclear physics, working under the supervision of Ernest Lawrence in the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. In 1945 he was appointed professor of physics at the University of Southern California, and he continued in that post until his retirement in 1980. An accomplished performer on the piano and the bassoon, Backus was awarded the degree of MMus in conducting by the University of Southern California in 1959. In the later stages of his research career he made major contributions to the study of the acoustics of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and organ pipes. In 1969 the first edition of The Acoustical Foundations of Music...

Article

Jon Newsom

(b Chambersburg, PA, March 31, 1897; d Homestead, PA, Jan 4, 1970). American acoustician, musicologist and composer. He taught himself the piano and the organ and studied at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania (1914–18); after graduating he worked as organist and mathematics teacher at the Haverford School in Pennsylvania (1919–21, 1922–6) while continuing his studies at Dickinson College (MA 1920) and Temple University (MusB 1924). He subsequently taught music theory as assistant professor at Wells College, New York (1926–9), leaving with a fellowship to the universities of Cologne and Berlin. After studies at Cornell University under Kinkeldey (1931–2) he gained the doctorate in 1932 with a dissertation on the history of equal temperament from Ramis de Pareia to Rameau. He taught at Ithaca College, New York (1932–9), while working for the MusD of the University of Toronto (...

Article

David J. Hough

[Geddes, Norman ]

(b Adrian, MI, April 27, 1893; d New York, May 8, 1958). American stage designer. He studied briefly at the Cleveland School of Art, but had no formal education after the age of 16. His first wife, Helen Belle Sneider, became his collaborator, and ‘Norman-Bel-Geddes’ was their nom de plume for articles on art and the theatre, until their divorce in 1932. Notable designs for Montemezzi’s La nave for Chicago Opera (1919) and Henry Hadley’s Cleopatra’s Night for the Metropolitan (1920) attracted Broadway attention, and his innovative approach was soon recognized. At an early stage of his career he discarded the proscenium arch and planned open-stage projects. For a commission in 1924 to design Vollmöller’s morality play The Miracle with Humperdinck’s music for Max Reinhardt, he converted the theatre into a Gothic cathedral. His work for Broadway included Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road (...

Article

Murray Campbell

(Henry)

(b Chicago, Jan 2, 1925; d Cleveland, Aug 4, 1987). American acoustician. His parents being missionaries, he spent much of his childhood in Lahore. After returning to the USA to study at Washington University, St Louis (AB 1948, PhD 1952), Benade was appointed in 1952 to the physics faculty at Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, which later became Case Western Reserve University. Promoted to a full professorship in 1969, he continued in that post until shortly before his death. A skilled woodwind player, he had an exceptional ability to relate the results of acoustical research to the practical requirements of musicians and musical instrument makers. Benade established a research programme which made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of the operation of wind instruments. Also active in string instrument research, he was a founding member of the Catgut Acoustical Society and its president between 1969 and 1972...

Article

Murray Campbell

(Leroy)

(b Solon, IA, Sept 15, 1914). American acoustician. He gained his BS after studying at Cornell College, Iowa, and subsequently gained his doctorate under the supervision of F.V. Hunt. During the Second World War Beranek worked in the Cruft Acoustics Laboratory at Harvard University and later at the MIT. In 1948 he founded a company of acoustics consultants (Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc.) which quickly established an international reputation. Before writing his seminal book, Music, Acoustics and Architecture (1962), he travelled through 20 countries, listening and making measurements in many halls and consulting many acousticians. This preparation preceded the final designing of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, for which he and his firm held the acoustic consultancy. Beranek has been responsible for the acoustical design of many major concert halls, and through his writings has contributed greatly to the dissemination of good practice in the design and construction of buildings intended for musical use. He was president of the Acoustical Society of America (...

Article

Bryan S. Wright

[Emil ]

(b Hanover, Germany, May 20, 1851; d Washington, DC, Aug 3, 1929). Inventor of German birth. He graduated from the Samsonschule in Wolfenbüttel at age 14 and immigrated at 18 to the United States, working odd jobs in Washington, DC, Milwaukee, and New York City. Despite limited formal scientific education, Berliner pursued his interest in electricity and acoustics and in 1876 developed and patented an improved microphone for Bell’s newly-invented telephone. For the next seven years, he worked as a research assistant for the American Bell Telephone Company before leaving to become a freelance researcher and inventor. Between 1883 and 1886 he obtained patents for acoustic tiles and floor coverings and experimented with a lightweight internal combustion engine for helicopters.

Berliner is best remembered for developing the gramophone in 1887, a variation of Thomas Edison’s phonograph. Where the phonograph recorded sounds with a vertically-cut groove of varying depth on a rotating cylinder, Berliner’s gramophone recorded sounds with a spiraling laterally-cut groove of constant depth on the surface of a flat disc. Unlike Edison, who viewed his phonograph primarily as a tool for dictation, Berliner envisioned the commercial appeal of the gramophone as a device for home entertainment. In ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(Emerich Walter)

(b Hamburg, Germany, Oct 19, 1909; d ?North Tonawanda, NY, Jan 15, 1987). American designer of electronic instruments and equipment, of German birth. He studied at the University of Hamburg and the Heinrich-Hertz Institut of the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. He pioneered techniques that are now common in synthesizers and other electronic instruments, both to imitate existing instruments and to generate new sounds. He is credited with developing the first modular synthesizer/processor.

While in Germany, he designed the Warbo Formant-Orgel (1937), in which he introduced the “assignment” of notes on a partially polyphonic keyboard. Further developments were made in the Melodium (1938) and the monophonic Melochord (1947–53). He built a series of electronic organs beginning with the Polychord (1950) and the Bode organ (1951); the latter was the basis for the Polychord III (1951) and for electronic organs made in the United States by the Estey Organ Company from ...

Article

Article

Ana R. Alonso-Minutti

(b San Antonio, TX, Dec 19, 1951). American composer and multimedia artist. He holds degrees from the University of Houston (BA 1977) and Ohio State University (MM 1987), and received a National Endowments for the Arts Fellowship in 1981. In his early years he was influenced by the music of Harry Partch and John Cage. In 1974 he co-founded the experimental performance ensemble Urban 15, which evolved into a non-profit organization and cultural center based in San Antonio. From 1978 to 1999 he organized the Third Coast New Music Project, a festival of new music. Cisneros has collaborated closely with his wife Catherine in the realization of projects involving sculpture, photography, music, dance, and media. Together they established the Carnaval de San Anto in 1988, a drum and dance company that has performed throughout the country and abroad. Cisneros’s commitment to his community is reflected in the creation of Nos Unimos, a virtual museum created for families who have lived or are living in San Antonio. Some of his large interactive works include ...

Article

Clive Greated

(b Cleveland, July 19, 1915). American physicist and acoustician. After studying physics at the Case School of Applied Science (BS 1937) he obtained the PhD from the University of Illinois. From 1941 to 1980 he held various research and management positions at the Westinghouse Corp. His research into the acoustics of the flute, carried out in a small laboratory at his home, has contributed significantly to what is known today about the behaviour of flutes and organ pipes. Several of his papers are recognised as standard reference material. His theory of feedback and how this relates to the means by which the flautist produces the desired frequencies and loudness is particularly relevant to performance. He also studied the significance of mouth resonance and the effect of mode stretching on harmonic generation. His work on the intonation of both antique and modern flutes and his critical assessment of Theobald Boehm's methods have helped in shaping current views on the historical development of the instrument....

Article

Murray Campbell

(b Cleveland, OH, July 19, 1915; d Pittsburgh, PA, Feb 10, 2010). American scientist and acoustician. After studying physics at Case Institute of Technology (BS 1937), he carried out research in nuclear physics at the University of Illinois (PhD 1941). He then joined the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, remaining with the firm for the rest of his professional life; he retired in 1980 after a distinguished career culminating in six years as Director of Research and Development. In his youth he had become an accomplished flute player, and during his undergraduate studies at Case he encountered the notable acoustician Dayton C. Miller. This meeting led to a lifelong interest in the acoustics of the flute, and Coltman developed a laboratory at his home in which he conducted many important and illuminating experiments on flutes and flute playing. Particularly significant was his contribution to the understanding of the subtle interaction between the air jet blown across the flute embouchure hole by the player and the resonances of the air column within the flute pipe. Over four decades, starting in the mid-1960s, he published more than 40 papers on the acoustics of flutes and organ pipes. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers....

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(Clark, Jr. )

(b Buffalo, Dec 18, 1920; d Alexandria, VA, May 17, 1996). American disc jockey. He began his broadcasting career as a freshman in college, then won an amateur announcing contest in Washington, DC (1939), and worked in that area until 1942, when he was drafted. While stationed in the Washington area he worked part-time at WWDC until his discharge in February 1946 and full-time thereafter. He broadcast his first show, “Music USA,” for Voice of America (VOA) in January 1955, a program he continued until his death. Conover worked as an independent contractor, not as a government employee, and his contract stipulated that the music on his program be of his own choosing. “Music USA” presented mainly jazz and reached into the Eastern-bloc nations, where it had a profound and at times revolutionary musical impact; VOA estimates that at the height of the Cold War his audiences comprised over 100 million listeners. An irony behind his position as a VOA announcer, and unquestionably the world’s most famous jazz disc jockey, is that VOA broadcasts are not allowed to be heard in the USA; one wonders what impact he would have had on American audiences. He first visited Warsaw in ...

Article

Eliot Gattegno

(b Morristown, NJ, Sept 10, 1975). American composer and computer musician. He has participated widely in the American electronic and experimental music scene as a performer, conceptual and new media artist, programmer, record producer, and teacher. He began his career as an electronic musician by restoring and performing on analog synthesizers, later switching to computers. As a student at Columbia University (BA 1997, MA 1999, DMA 2003), he studied with fred Lerdahl and jonathan d. Kramer . While serving on staff at Columbia’s Computer Music Center, he started experimenting with the use of algorithmic methodologies such as L-systems, contributed to Real-Time Cmix, and worked for Cycling ’74 on Max/MSP, especially the video component Jitter.

His composed works often reinterpret and comment on a select corpus of information, sometimes drawing on elements of American popular culture. For example, Academy, Billboard, and Play were inspired by the Academy Awards, the ...

Article

William Brooks and George L. Frow

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931). American inventor. He had only a few months of formal schooling before becoming successively a newsboy, a food hawker on trains and a telegraph operator. In 1870, with money received from the sale of telegraphic inventions, he founded a research laboratory. There he constructed the carbon telephone transmitter (1876), the cylinder phonograph (1877) and the first practical electric light (1879). These devices brought him instant fame, and he spent much of the rest of his life in their improvement; he also aided the creation of the myth that surrounds his achievements. The phonograph was a badly flawed novelty when it was first introduced, and Edison abandoned it until the late 1880s when, challenged by Charles Tainter’s graphophone, he organized his own recording company. Although he portrayed himself as financially naive, Edison displayed ruthlessness and skill in the subsequent battles between companies. He clung stubbornly to his original ideas, accepting such innovations as disc records and spring-driven machines only under the pressure of competition. He also held strong opinions about music, despite his congenital deafness, and these sometimes adversely affected his choice of artists. Although his vision of the phonograph as a viable recording device for music was largely realized by others, Edison continues to be regarded, in the public mind, as the creator of the recording industry....

Article

Eliot Gattegno

(b Milwaukee, WI, June 27, 1960). American computer musician, sound engineer, and educator. Erbe has played an important role in American experimental and electronic music since the late 1980s. He wrote the pioneering and widely used program SoundHack, has taught computer music at key institutions, and has become one of the most highly respected sound engineers for contemporary music. Erbe studied computer science and music at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and got his start as an audio engineer by volunteering at WEFT, WPGU, and Faithful Sound Studios.

He was the technical director of the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM) at Mills College (1987–93). There he worked as a computer musician and recording engineer with composers Robert Ashley (Improvement, 1992), Larry Polansky (The Theory of Impossible Melody, 1993), James Tenney (Selected Works, 1993), and Alvin Curran (Schtyx, 1994). During this period he also developed a four-channel spatial audio processor for the NASA Ames Research Center. His research at CCM included the development of SoundHack (...

Article

Sue Carole DeVale

(b Newton, MA, Nov 14, 1850; d Forest Glen, MD, May 31, 1930). American ethnologist. He studied biology at Harvard (AB 1875, PhD 1877), and later studied at Leipzig and the University of Arizona. He was field director of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition (1889–94), and, commissioned by Mary Hemenway, tested the value of the phonograph for fieldwork in March 1890 by recording songs of the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine. These were soon followed by his Zuni (1890) and Hopi Pueblo (1891) recordings which were then analysed by Benjamin Ives Gilman. He was responsible for the Hemenway Exhibition at the Madrid exhibition of 1892 commemorating Columbus's discovery of America, and consequently received many honours. As a result of his work in Madrid, Hemenway later commissioned recordings by Gilman. From 1895 to 1918 Fewkes worked as an ethnologist at the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington, DC, becoming chief in ...

Article

Sue Carole DeVale

(b Cuba, March 15, 1838; d Washington DC, April 6, 1923). American ethnologist. She devoted herself to the study of the Great Plains Indians, so completely winning their confidence that she was privileged to gather data and record ceremonials and rituals not usually witnessed by non-Indians. While living on the Omaha reservation in 1881, she became interested in the education of the 24-year-old son, Francis, of Chief Joseph La Flesche. She took him to Washington where he lived with her, as her ‘son by adoption’, until 1910; with him, Fletcher wrote an important monograph on the Omaha tribe (1911).

Fletcher, who was an assistant at the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology from 1882, began collecting ethnological and musical data in 1883 among the Omaha and Dakota Indians. She also wrote about other tribes and kinship groups and transcribed hundreds of songs including the first complete record of the Pawnees’ Hako ceremony. Initially she notated melodies by ear, having her informants repeat each song until she was satisfied that she had an accurate transcription. Soon after the pioneer field use of the Edison phonograph by Jesse Walter Fewkes in ...

Article

Murray Campbell

(b Provo, UT, Sept 11, 1884; d Provo, July 23, 1981). American acoustician. He studied at Brigham Young University in Provo (BS 1907), then at the University of Chicago, where he gained his doctorate in 1911 for research into the charge of the electron. In 1916 he joined the staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York; he remained there for 33 years, becoming director of acoustical research in 1928 and of physical research in 1935. In 1949 Fletcher was appointed professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University, and in 1952 he returned to Brigham Young University as director of research. He became professor emeritus in 1974, and continued his research activity until his death. Fletcher was one of the great pioneers of the science of psychoacoustics, and his work on the human perception of sound was of fundamental importance. Responsible for the first public demonstration of stereophonic sound reproduction in ...