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John M. Schechter

revised by Luis Merino

(b Santiago de Chile, June 22, 1922; d Santiago, Feb 3, 1999). Chilean composer and writer. Introduced to music by his father, a cellist, he studied theory and the piano at the Catholic Conservatory from 1935 to 1939. After graduating in civil engineering from the University of Chile (1945), he pursued work in composition with Jorge Urrutia Blondel at the National Conservatory (1948–52). He made his first experiments in electronic music when he was planning music programmes for Chilean Radio (1953–6), and in 1956 created the Experimental Sound Workshop at the Catholic University of Santiago. He taught both at the Catholic University and on the arts faculty of the University of Chile.

Amenábar wrote for the voice, chamber groups, solo instruments, and ensembles, and he composed incidental music for the cinema and theatre. His electro-acoustic music carries special importance: such works as ...


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....


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 ...


Barry Schrader

[née Charlotte Wind]

(b Minneapolis, June 16, 1927; d Los Angeles, April 20, 2008). American composer. She and her husband Louis Barron were pioneers in the field of electro-acoustic music. She received the MA in political science from the University of Minnesota, where she studied composition with Cordero, and she also spent a year studying composition at the University of Mexico. In 1947 she moved to New York and, while working as a researcher for Time-Life, studied composition with Riegger and Cowell. Married that year, the Barrons began their experiments with taped electronic sounds; in 1948 in New York they established one of the earliest electro-acoustic music studios. It contained both disc and tape equipment with sine- and square-wave oscillators, mixers and filters, and four synchronous projectors used for the manipulation of sound on optical tracks. Their experiments led the Barrons to use and develop characteristics of individual circuits to create different types of sound events, each of which was considered a Gestalt, and they eventually constructed a large collection of cybernetic circuits for compositional use. When they collaborated on a composition, Louis designed and built the electronic circuits for sound generation while Bebe searched the taped material for its musical potential and proposed the application of particular processing and compositional techniques....


Barry Schrader

(b Minneapolis, April 23, 1920; d Los Angeles, Nov 1, 1989). American composer. He and his wife Bebe wrote pioneering works in the field of electro-acoustic music. He studied the piano and wrote jazz criticism while a student at the University of Minnesota. He then worked for the Gallup organization as a social psychologist. Married in ...


Andra McCartney

(Marian )

(b Oshawa, ON, April 11, 1934). Canadian composer and radio producer. She studied composition with Weinzweig in Toronto, Foss and Copland at Tanglewood, and Maderna and Petrassi in Europe. Her early compositions tend towards neo-classicism, but, a pioneer in Canadian electro-acoustic music, she went on to compose post-serial, improvisational and collage works. Both her attention to timbre and her formal structures demonstrate the influence of Debussy and Xenakis.

Beecroft’s broadcasting career began in television (1954–9). She became a radio producer in 1963, originating numerous CBC-FM music series. In 1969 she began to produce freelance documentaries on Canadian composers and music technologies. Her programme The Computer in Music won the Major Armstrong Award for excellence in FM broadcasting (1976). From 1984 to 1987 she taught electronic music and composition at York University (Toronto), which awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters in 1996. She has served as the president of Canadian Music Associates and Ten Centuries Concerts, and co-founded, with Robert Aiken, the New Music Concerts. Her numerous composition prizes include two Lynch-Staunton Awards from the Canada Council....


Valdemar Axel Roldan

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 28, 1936). Argentine composer. He studied philosophy at the Buenos Aires National University. In 1961 he won a Ford fellowship to be an artist-in-residence in West Berlin. He studied with Schaeffer at the Pierre Bourdan Research Centre in Paris on a French government grant (1964–8). He was conductor-in-residence of the City of Buenos Aires Symphonic Band (1969–71) and deputy conductor of the National SO (1971–2); he has also directed the Buenos Aires PO, the University of Tucumán SO and contemporary music ensembles. His awards include the Argentine Composers’ Union Prize (1969) and the Buenos Aires Municipal Prize for his work in electro-acoustic music (1994–5). He was invited by the Groupe de Recherches Musicales to record Homenaje a Pierre Schaeffer in 1993 and to compose a work to commemorate the 50th anniversary of musique concrète...


Valdemar Axel Roldan

(b ?Córdoba, before ?1945). Argentine composer and teacher. After study at Córdoba University and Conservatory, she studied with César Franchisena, Zlatko Topolsky, Nicolás Alfredo Alessio, Alfredo Luis Nihoul, Ornella Devoto and Francisco Kroepfl. Castillo has dedicated herself primarily to composition and to the dissemination of 20th-century music. Considered a pioneer in the production of electro-acoustic music in Argentina, her works have been performed in many national and international festivals and congresses. She began to create musique concrète and electronic music at the centre for experimental music at Córdoba University, of which she was a founding member. Later, she used computers to combine electro-acoustic music with traditional instruments. She is a founding member of the Córdoba Composers' Association, the Córdoba Argentine Federation of Electro-Acoustic Music and the Agrupación Nueva Música of Córdoba, of which she is president. Her works have been performed in Argentina and abroad. She is professor of composition and musical analysis at Córdoba University....


Marc Battier

(b Newark, NJ, May 25, 1955). American composer. After attending the New England Conservatory and Bates College (BA 1977), Chasalow studied composition with Mario Davidovsky and flute with harvey Sollberger at Columbia University (MA 1979, DMA 1985). He taught composition at Harvard University and then at Brandeis University, where he is the director of the Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio. His honors include a Fromm Foundation Fellowship, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, Aaron Copland Award, Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress Commission, Sylvia Goldstein Award, and MacDowell Colony Residency.

Although Chasalow has written a number of pieces for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and solo instrument, he often composes with electroacoustic sounds, delicately mixed with acoustic instruments. His pieces for instruments and electronics are highly articulated and finely chiseled, following a tradition first started at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (CPEMC) by Mario Davidovsky. He is equally recognized as a composer of classical contemporary music and of electroacoustic music. He also co-curates, with Barbara Cassidy, the Oral History Project, an important video archive of electroacoustic music, which consists of interviews of major American composers and pioneers working with electronic music and digital audio....


Wendy F. Hsu

(b Arlington Heights, IL, Oct 12, 1976). American experimental musician. Chen was born into a family of material scientists, doctors, and engineers who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. She began playing the cello at age eight and singing at age eleven, receiving classical training in both. She studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Peabody Institute (BM 2000) and specialized in both early and new music. In 2003, Chen began to construct, in her own words, a “more individually honest aesthetic,” experimenting with sounds using the cello, voice, and analog electronics. Chen’s music is largely improvised. In her music, Chen explores reflexive narratives and non-linear storytelling, while exploiting embodiment and the personal. Chen masters a unique layering of acoustic and electronic sounds while deploying traditional and extended techniques in both cello and the voice. She also incorporates homemade analog synthesizers and instrument preparations using found objects unrelated to conventional music-making. Joining these compositional, improvisatory, and experimental instrument-building elements, Chen develops what she calls a “singular ecstatic personal language.”...


Gerard Béhague

(b Santiago de Chile, July 31, 1934; d Santiago, Oct 10, 1994). Chilean musicologist. He studied composition and musicology at the University of Chile under Alfonso Letelier and Juan Orrego-Salas (taking the licentiate in 1960 with Acústica y sonido musical), and privately under Lucila Césped; he also studied musicology under Lang, Edward Lippman and Ernest Sanders at Columbia University (MA 1964), and composition and electro-acoustic music under Beeson, Luening and Ussachevsky. Subsequently he was professor of musicology at the University of Chile (1964–82), where he was also secretary of the music faculty and editor of Revista musical chilena (1964–8, 1981). At the University of Chile he directed the Institute of Musical Research (1968–70) and was dean of the faculty of music and performing arts (1973–6). In the 1980s he transferred his instructional and research activities to the Catholic University of Chile where he remained until the end of his life. He was vice-rector there (...


Kyle Gann


(b New York, March 26, 1954). American composer and performer. At Wesleyan University (BA 1976, MA 1979) he studied the music of Charles Ives, Indian tablā, and performance and composition with Alvin Lucier. From 1980 he worked in New York as a consultant for recording studios while maintaining an active role as a performer and organizer of festivals in the city. He was visiting artistic director of the STEIM electro-acoustic music studio in Amsterdam (1992–5), and in 1994 became co-director of the American ensemble Barton Workshop; in 1997 he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Leonardo Music Journal.

Collins's early works, unsurprisingly for those of a Lucier protégé, use electronic feedback and computer circuitry. In New York he performed on a unique ‘trombone-propelled signal processor’ (with attachments to the mouthpiece), which enabled him to loop and modify sampled sounds and pan these to loudspeakers around the performance space. Other devices include a ‘backwards electric guitar’ – sending sound signals actually inside the instrument for electronic resonance – and a modified compact disc player which allows recordings to be altered during performance. The latter device is used to great effect in ...


Ryan Dohoney

(b Concord, NH, March 7, 1940). American filmmaker, composer, violinist, and media artist. He began playing violin in his youth and studied with Ronald Knudsen. He became fascinated with the physics of sounds and interested in intonation, the harmonic series, long-held tones, and the act of close listening. He attended Harvard University and received an AB in mathematics in 1962. While at Harvard he met Henry Flynt and Christian George Wolff and became involved with the post-Cagean avant garde based in New York. In 1959 Conrad met La Monte Young, who became a frequent collaborator in the mid-1960s. Conrad credits an encounter with the music of 17th-century composer and violinist Heinrich Ignaz Biber in the late 1950s with a profound transformation of his musical thinking, drawing his attention to variable tunings and the role of timbre as an aesthetic concern. Conrad’s exposure to the music of Ali Akbar Khan also heightened his interest in drones as a basis for musical performance....


Stéphane Roy

(b Paris, Nov 2, 1926). French composer, naturalized Canadian. He studied with Ginette Waldmeier, Koechlin and Nadia Boulanger. After becoming interested in magnetic wire recording in 1947, he began to experiment with electro-acoustic composition. In 1950 he settled in Provence, where he was a founder-member, and eventually president, of the Musique-Multiples festival (1975–9). In 1979 he relocated to Montreal where, as a professor in electro-acoustic music at the university, he influenced a generation of Canadian composers. His programmes on electro-acoustic music have been broadcast on Radio France and Radio Canada. His writings on acousmatic music are at times polemical, defending the specificity of the genre.

Dhomont's compositions are mainly acousmatic. They present an enigmatic discourse involving shifts of sense, space, place and atmosphere, as well as powerful archetypes of tension and relaxation, and processes of recall possessing a rare expressive quality. Space is adroitly exploited in his three poetic reveries on wandering (...


Daniele Buccio

(b New York, NY, Aug 5, 1953). American composer and media artist. He studied film and video art at the State University of New York at Buffalo (MA 1976) and composition with Pauline Oliveros (1974), La Monte Young (1974–6), and finally alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University (MA 1982). He has directed and composed music for a number of his own ensembles, including the Orchestra of Excited Strings, the first iteration of which formed in 1979. Among the most rock-oriented of minimalist composers, he has experimented with performance techniques, explored original systems of tuning, and modified or created new instruments to achieve specific timbral effects. In 1984 he moved to Berlin, where he became composer-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Since arriving in Europe he has expanded his creative activities: staging multi-day performances (The Memory Projects, 1995–2001); creating installations such as From the Archives...


David Buckley

revised by Cecilia Sun

(Peter George St John Le Baptiste de la Salle )

(b Woodbridge, UK, May 15, 1948). English composer, singer, keyboard player, sound artist, and producer. He attended art school in Ipswich and Winchester, during which time he was inspired by John Cage’s Silence to develop an interest in experimental music. He later joined the Scratch Orchestra and the Portsmouth Sinfonia. He first worked professionally from 1970 to 1973 with the seminal art-rock band Roxy Music, playing keyboard on their first two albums Roxy Music (Island, 1972) and For your Pleasure (Island, 1973). By treating the group’s live sound electronically with a tape recorder and VC5 3 synthesizer, he defined a role for himself as an “aural collagist.” After leaving Roxy Music, Eno developed this interest in the timbral quality of music further with the albums No Pussy Footing (Island, 1973; with Robert Fripp) and Another Green World (Island, 1975), the latter a brilliant combination of quirky songs and pastoral instrumentals. In ...


Jacqueline Avila

(b Mexico City, Nov 28, 1955). Mexican composer and teacher active in the United States. Feldman began his musical studies (piano) with Joaquín Amparán. In 1970 he attended the Conservatorio Nacional de Música, studying with Mario Lavista, Leonardo Velasquez, Daniel Catán, and Jesús Villaseñor. He moved to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1982 after receiving a scholarship from the Ahmanson Foundation, later earning his doctorate in composition from UCLA. Feldman has garnered recognition from the ASCAP and has received Meet the Composer awards in 1986, 1988, and 1992. Heavily invested in the diffusion of electronic music, Feldman was president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. He was a faculty member at CalArts until 1989 and later became director of the music department at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. Feldman’s catalog of works is diverse, moving from symphonic and chamber compositions to works for tape and computer. He has also collaborated with other artists and composed incidental music for theater and film....


Marie Noëlle Masson

(b Córdoba, Argentina, June 21, 1937). Argentine composer. Her early musical studies included piano lessons with Celia Bronstein in Buenos Aires (1950–56). As a composer she was largely self-taught, although she spent a year in Paris (1962–3), studying harmony and musical analysis with Nadia Boulanger, and then went on to study electronic and electro-acoustic music with Edgardo Cantón at the RAI sound studio in Milan. She was a member of Pierre Schaeffer’s Groupe de Recherches Musicales (1964–70), and participated in the creation of Schaeffer’s ‘Solfège de l’objet sonore’ recordings. She attended courses given by Ligeti and Earle Brown at the 1967 Darmstadt summer school and was a collaborator on Bernard and François Baschets’ structures sonores; she has also undertaken research in both music therapy and ethnomusicology. In 1969–70 she conducted seminars at the Paris Conservatoire in music and audio-visual techniques and in ...


Stephen Montague


(b Breslau [now Wrocław, Poland], Dec 30, 1943). American composer. The son of a German rocket scientist, he emigrated to the USA in 1953, took American citizenship in 1958, and studied philosophy at Yale University (BA 1965) and music at University of California, Berkeley (1965–7). He then moved to Cologne to become Karlheinz Stockhausen’s assistant and a member of his ensemble (1967–70). He was a co-founder (in 1969) of the Feedback Studio Verlag, Cologne, a performance centre and later publishing company (1971) devoted to new music. He has lectured at the Ferienkurse für Internationale Neue Musik, Darmstadt (1974, 1976), and at Dartington College of Arts, England (1976–7), and was a founding member of the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain (1979). He has also carried out research at IRCAM, which culminated in the first digital reproductions of ‘three-dimensional’ sounds (...


Bruno Giner

revised by Élise Petit

(b Buenos Aires, Sept 29, 1956). Argentine and French composer. Carlos Grätzer’s first musical studies were with his father, the composer Guillermo Graetzer, himself a pupil of Hindemith. After winning a first prize from the city of Buenos Aires in 1984, he was awarded a scholarship by the French government and completed his studies with Ivo Malec and Carlos Roque Alsina in Paris, where he subsequently settled. In 1989 he obtained his diploma of electro-acoustic music from the Conservatoire National de Région, Boulogne, and took the IRCAM course in computer music studies.

Grätzer composes instrumental music, electro-acoustic music, and works which combine the two genres. He has turned for inspiration to literature and poetry (Bernhard, Juarroz) and to painting (Kandinsky, Matta), as well as to his own experience in the field of animated film, montage particularly. While continuing to explore the basic properties of sound material, his highly formalized music is based on the simultaneity of elements, new relationships between foreground figures and background textures, and abstract forms which move in space and undergo temporal transformation. He has achieved distinction in many competitions, including the Bourges Concours International de Musique Électroacoustique in ...