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Stephen Montague

(Michael Gordon)

(b Stratford, NZ, Feb 22, 1935; d Paris, May 27, 1987). British composer of New Zealand birth. He went to England at the age of 17 to study the piano at the RAM (1952–6). He remained in the UK and in 1969 began teaching at Morley College, London, where he became interested in live electronics and the work of Stockhausen. In 1973 he formed the West Square Electronic Music Ensemble (1973–87) from students at Morley, and in 1975 it gave its first professional performance at St John’s, Smith Square. In 1979 he co-founded the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain (now Sonic Arts Network) and became its first chairman. His music was influenced by the post-Webern aesthetic, particularly in the three Piano Pieces with live electronics, Colla voce and Arc. As a composer Anderson was largely self-taught; this, along with his early lack of confidence as a New Zealander abroad, made him sometimes appear more at ease helping other composers realize their works than composing his own. He made six elaborate realizations of Stockhausen’s ...

Article

Warren Burt

(Rosalie Edith )

(b Geelong, Victoria, Aug 18, 1951). Australian composer, performer, installation and sound artist, instrument inventor, writer, educator, and researcher. Her early education consisted of high school in both Australia and Canada, followed by a BA (1971, Monash University), Dip Ed (1973, Monash), MA (1974, Monash), and PhD (1983, Monash). An interest in experimental music is apparent from her earliest compositions, many of which involve performance in specific places, improvisation, electronics, graphic notation, and the use of self-built and specially built instruments. These include Improvisations in Acoustic Chambers, 1981, and Soft and Fragile: Music in Glass and Clay, 1982. By 1977 an interest in sound installation and sound sculpture had become well established in her work (Winds and Circuits, Surfaces and Cavities), and is an area in which she has continued to the present day, having presented nearly 50 sound installations worldwide.

Bandt has also been involved in creating electro-acoustic works, often in collaboration with broadcasting organizations; work for or with radio forms a significant portion of her output. Many of these works, while using real-world elements, take a more narrative or illustrative approach to their material compared to the abstractionism of much electro-acoustic work. An electro-acoustic work such as ...

Article

John Young

[John] (Stanley)

( b Te Aroha, Oct 7, 1944). New Zealand composer . He studied at the University of Auckland with Ronald Tremain, then, after an influential period working with Lilburn in the electro-acoustic music studio at Victoria University of Wellington, in Cologne with Kagel and at the Institute of Sonology, Utrecht. He was a guest lecturer at the Music Academy, Yogyakarta (1976–7), and since 1980 has taught at Victoria University of Wellington. His work as a composer embraces orchestral, chamber, music-theatre and electro-acoustic forms, as well as audio-visual installations which include his own photographic material. The most profound influence on his work has been his immersion in musical traditions of Asia which, through extensive fieldwork, particularly in Indonesia and parts of China, has provided him with much of his compositional material. Use of field recordings from such sources has characterized his electro-acoustic music since Musik dari jalan (‘Music from the Street’) (...

Article

Stephen Adams

(b Stoke-on-Trent, March 31, 1958). Australian composer, performer, and sound artist. Chesworth’s work has been given relatively little attention to date by musicologists. This is perhaps in part a consequence of the apparently populist appeal of his musical surfaces. It might also be a result of his collaborative working methods, and his implicit critique of traditional concepts of the composer’s role, and of the boundaries between art forms, genres, academic, and popular subcultures, making his work difficult to categorize.

In 1969 Chesworth emigrated from the UK with his parents. Following high school, he attended La Trobe University, studying music, even though he had arrived with no formal musical training (though he did possess sound engineering skills and plenty of musical ideas). He quickly developed an interest in composition, studying with Warren Burt and Graham Hair (1976–9), and continued at La Trobe as a tutor for two years beyond graduation. La Trobe introduced him to post-World War II European modernism and the American and British experimental traditions. Simultaneously he became active in the post-punk wave of experimentation, producing his first landmark recordings, ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Napier, New Zealand, May 14, 1946). Intermedia artist whose transdisciplinary practice includes video/sound work and installations, experimental instruments, graphic scores, and improvisation. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland (DipFA Hons, 1971) and the University of West Sydney, Nepean (MA Hons, 2000). Since the early 1970s his sound-based artworks have involved newly invented instruments. A member of the original Scratch Orchestra in London (1968–9), Dadson founded Scratch Orchestra (NZ) in 1970 and later From Scratch (1974–2004). A key part of From Scratch’s development was instrument invention, from using found objects to making unique, custom-designed devices. Tunings evolved from randomly pitched sounds to 12-note and microtonal tunings, and just intonation. Central to this development were tuned percussion stations composed of rack-supported, four-tiered assemblies of PVC pipes, tuned-tongue bamboos and bells (in which parallel slots cut in the materials produce a vibrating tongue matching the resonant frequency of the open or closed tubes), and roto-tom drums, combined with special methods of playing. These percussion stations, along with other novel struck and spun acoustic instruments, produced the characteristic From Scratch sound. More recent instruments include the Zitherum (long-stringed instruments that are drummed and bowed), the metal-pronged Nundrum, the stroked RodBaschet, the gong tree, Foley-trays, the Water Cooler Drumkit, water bells, the Gloop-spring-string-drum family, the Sprong family, and other fanciful types....

Article

J.M. Thomson

(b Hastings, New Zealand, Oct 10, 1954). New Zealand composer and teacher. Her studies began in 1973 at the University of Canterbury, where she subsequently became computer music research assistant. In 1978 she attended summer schools in Europe with John Cage and Iannis Xenakis. After experience as a computer programmer, composer, broadcaster and music journalist she held teaching positions at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and at the University of Auckland. She has published papers on computer music and produced radio programmes on new music; she has also written poetry. She sees music and theatre as one entity ‘functioning to transform the people within the society’ and ‘real art [as] a transformative thing’. As a composer Frykberg has specialized in electro-acoustic music theatre. Several of her works (e.g. The Garden, Woman and House) deal with feminist issues. Saxarba examines aspects of women’s spirituality, while Caroline Herschel is Minding the Heavens...

Article

John Young

(Talbot)

(b Amberley, Aug 1, 1945). New Zealand composer. He studied at the University of Canterbury and with Lilburn at Victoria University of Wellington, where he later became an associate professor. His musical output is eclectic, embracing a variety of genres and styles including chamber music, orchestral works, three operas and electro-acoustic music as well as jazz/rock fusion with his Wellington-based group Free Radicals. He has acknowledged the importance of the electro-acoustic medium for his early development, which provided an aesthetic freedom and technical control he relished. The introduction of FM synthesizers and MIDI in the early 1980s allowed him to consolidate this with works that frequently involve play on natural harmonic series, such as Haiku and Harmonicity, as well as being notable for subtle suggestions of natural environmental sounds, as in Horn Call on Makara Cliff. In recent years he has turned increasingly to instrumental music, where influential sources have always been Schoenberg, Berg and Stravinsky. His present work aims to reconcile aspects of tonal function and more formalized set theoretical approaches to composition, as in ...

Article

John Young

(Francis)

(b Auckland, Feb 5, 1939). New Zealand composer. His initial training in composition was with Tremain at the University of Auckland, where he also did postgraduate work in musicology. An interest in electro-acoustic music in the mid-1960s led him to study in Toronto under Weinzweig and Gustav Ciamaga. In 1974 he joined the staff of the University of Auckland, founding the electro-acoustic music studio there. His compositions include instrumental, vocal, theatrical and electro-acoustic works, with some emphasis on pieces mixing instrumental or vocal forces with electro-acoustic sounds, as in the Composition series of ten such works. A powerful influence of the natural environment can be found in much of his work, including the ‘modelling’ of specific natural events, such as the build-up and dissipation of energy in a breaking wave in his Viola Concerto, Seaswell, for trumpet and tape, Your Piano is my Forte for piano and orchestra, and the electro-acoustic ...

Article

John Young

(Arthur)

(b Nelson, May 16, 1946). New Zealand composer. He studied in New Zealand at the University of Canterbury and Victoria University and in Europe at the Paris Conservatoire with Messiaen, with the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) and at the University of York. Since 1971 he has lived in England. He taught at the University of East Anglia (1976–94) and in 1994 became professor of music at City University, London. His compositions, many of which have received international prizes, all make use of electro-acoustic resources, uniting a concern for the intrinsic timbral details of initial ‘sound-objects’ with the transformational potentials of studio technology. He maintains a strong belief in the ‘acousmatic’ (source unseen) nature of electro-acoustic music and its potential to extend sound imaginatively beyond the limitations of physical sources. Out of his concern for a perceptually based theoretical understanding of that medium, he has developed the notion of ‘spectromorphology’ to describe and classify the way sound spectra are shaped in time. Of his works, ...