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Michael Russ

( b Belfast, Jan 22, 1962). Northern Irish composer . He attended the University of Ulster (BMus 1985) where he studied matrix composition, a technique used in many of his works, with David Morriss, and the University of Durham (PhD 1992) where he studied with John Casken and Peter Manning. In 1989 he became the composer-in-residence at Queen's University, Belfast, and in 1990 was appointed to a lectureship there, also serving as the director of the electronic music studio. The composition of Making a Song and Dance … (1989) marked the beginning of a fascination with Irish folk music, the modal qualities of which Alcorn finds particularly interesting. He has also acknowledged the influence of a number of postwar British and Scandinavian composers.

A small but significant part of Alcorn's output is electro-acoustic music. Flexible modes of interaction between electronically generated sounds, conventional instrumental timbres and, occasionally, visual images, hold a particular appeal for him. ...


Svetlana Savenko

( b Novosibirsk, November 30, 1937). Russian composer . He attended the Moscow Conservatory (1955–60) where he studied composition under Shaporin and Sidel′nikov, polyphony under S.S. Bogatïryov and orchestration under Rakov. Later (1960–62), he studied general and musical acoustics and the theory and practice of electronic music under the guidance of Ye.A. Murzin (the engineer and mathematician who produced the first Soviet electronic ANS synthesiser). He worked as an engineer at the Institute for Electronic Research (1960–64), and then taught at the Institute of Culture (1964–86). In 1989 he became president of the Russian Association for electro-acoustic music, and in 1993 a member of the executive committee of ICEM (International Confederation for Electro-Acoustic Music). He is a laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation (1988, 1993, 1996), and a laureate of the ‘Nika’ Prize awarded by the Russian Academy for the art of cinematography....


Pierluigi Petrobelli

(b Naples, March 4, 1932). Italian composer. He graduated from the Conservatorio di S Cecilia as a pupil of Porena. In 1965 he joined the Rome-based Nuova Consonanza group, serving as one of its directors in 1971–2. He studied with Stockhausen in Cologne in 1966, an experience that decisively influenced him as a composer. The following year he attended Evangelisti’s seminars on electronic music in Rome. In 1972, together with Mario Bertoncini, Walter Branchi and Giorgio Nottoli, he formed the Gruppo Team Roma, an ensemble making use of live electronics. Again with Branchi, in 1977, he founded Musica Verticale, an association devoted mainly to electro-acoustic music. He taught composition at the conservatoires of Pesaro (1972–9) and Perugia (1979–95). In 1995 he returned to Rome to teach at the Conservatory.

In the first phase of his output (Mimesis and Metafora) the elements of the music are rigorously predetermined; later he used forms offering a choice to the performers. After exploring new forms of expression using electroacoustic and instrumental techniques, he has progressively abandoned timbral research in pursuit of more abstract formal possibilities, especially in orchestral works such as ...


Rolf Haglund

(b Stockholm, July 15, 1935). Swedish composer and administrator. He studied composition with L. Wenström (1956–60), but he is self-taught in his principal field of electro-acoustic music, in which he is one of the most important composers, teachers and administrators in Sweden. His background as a jazz musician, pictorial artist (including computer-generated images) and biochemist has contributed to a characteristic openness and enthusiasm for the crossing of the boundaries between different artistic genres which he has passed on to a younger generation of electro-acoustic composers. Following his début in the concert organization Fylkingen in 1962, he became one of the driving forces in creating a small electronic music studio there. Together with Bengt Emil Johnson he directed the text and sound festivals initiated in Stockholm in 1967; Bodin was also Fylkingen’s chairman from 1969 to 1972. He became a pioneer of instrumental theatre, organized now legendary happenings at the Modern Museum in Stockholm and brought John Cage and other leading modernists to Sweden. In ...


G.W. Hopkins

revised by Paul Griffiths

(b Montbrison, Loire, March 26, 1925; d Baden-Baden, January 5, 2016). French composer and conductor. Resolute imagination, force of will, and ruthless combativeness secured him, as a young man, a position at the head of the Parisian musical avant garde. His predecessors, in his view, had not been radical enough; music awaited a combination of Serialism with the rhythmic irregularity opened up by Igor Stravinsky and Olivier Messiaen. This call for a renewed modernism was widely heard and widely followed during the 1950s, but its appeal gradually weakened thereafter, and in the same measure his creativity waned. He began to be more active as a conductor, at first specializing in 20th-century music, but then, in the 1970s, covering a large and general repertory. Towards the end of that decade he turned his attention to an electro-acoustic music studio built for him in Paris, where he hoped to resume the effort to create a new musical language on a rational basis. After a brief hiatus, though, conducting became again his principal means of expressing his independence and clarity of vision....


Hartmut Krones

(b London, April 28, 1926). English composer, active in Austria. He studied at the RAM (1948–51), where his teachers included Ferguson and Lennox Berkeley, and at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1951–4) with Blacher, among others. After a scholarship enabled him to spend close to a year in Rome, he settled in Vienna as a freelance composer (1956). By that time he had already made a name for himself with his String Quartet op.2, which received its first performance at Darmstadt in 1953. He received increasing recognition in the following years with his stage and orchestral works. His opera Volpone, for example, was produced by five different companies. In 1973 he was appointed professor of composition at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, where he also directed the institute for electro-acoustic music (1989–91).

Burt took an expanded vision of late Romanticism as his starting point, but also found inspiration in the work of Stravinsky and in Nigerian drum music, with which he became familiar during a year of army service in Nigeria (...


Jean-Yves Bosseur

(b Compiègne, Aug 25, 1945). French composer. He studied at the GRM in Paris, then joined with Alain Savouret to found Opus N., a group exploring improvisation associated with electro-acoustic processes. In 1970 he and Françoise Barrière created GMEB (Groupe de Musique Expérimentale de Bourges), with which he developed new techniques of diffusion and interpretation for electronic music (‘le Gmebaphone’ and ‘les Antonymes’). In particular, these devices are based on the spatialization of acoustic sources, as is ‘le Gmebogosse’, a piece of equipment intended to make electro-acoustics accessible to children. In 1971 he and Françoise Barrière founded Synthèse, the International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music at Bourges.

One of Clozier’s most important compositions is La Discordatura (1970), a ‘concrète-suite’ derived from manipulated violin sounds, and he has realized several works of music theatre, including an ‘opéra concret’ A vie (1971).

(selective list)


Gareth Cox

revised by Mark Fitzgerald

(b Borrisokane, Tipperary, May 1, 1944). Irish composer. He studied music, philosophy, ancient languages, and theology at Maynooth, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and in Rome, and composition in Berlin with Blacher (1969–71). He has served as music inspector for the Irish Department of Education (1971–9), been a guest of the Berlin Artist’s Programme (1980–81), and has taught at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart (1982–3) and the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Hamburg (from 1983). He was elected to Aosdána, the Irish academy of creative artists, in 1983. He was a Fulbright visiting professor and Fulbright scholar in the USA in 1989–90. His compositions have won a number of prizes including the Studio Akustische Kunst First Prize in 1996 for Joycepeak Music, first prize at the Bourges International Electro-acoustic Music Competition in 1999 for Sweeny’s Vision...


Angel Medina

(b Madrid, Oct 24, 1937). Spanish composer. He studied with Gerardo Combauç and others at the Madrid Conservatory, where he won the Fugue Prize (1961). In 1965 he won a grant from the Gaudeamus Foundation (the Netherlands), which allowed him to work with the composers Xenakis and Haubenstock-Ramati. Another grant, from the Juan March Foundation, enabled him to study at the University of Utrecht (1966), where he was taught electronic music by G.M. Koenig. The same foundation awarded him the Fine Arts Pension (1968). He was general delegate of the Spanish Radio and Television SO and Choir (1981–6) and consultant to the municipality of Madrid and the Ministry of Culture. He is a member and co-founder of the Alea Laboratory of electro-acoustic music and of the Association of Spanish Symphonic Composers.

Coria's works, highly refined in their treatment of instruments, reveal an affiliation to Weber (especially in the early period), increasingly filtered by a sensuousness derived from French Impressionism. In ...


Jean-Rémy Berthoud

(b Aix-les-Bains, May 19, 1937; d Geneva, May 14, 1982). French composer. His father was a violinist at the Lyons Opera. Derbès studied piano at the Lyons conservatory with Hélène Herrenschmidt (obtaining a prize at the age of 14), later at the Geneva Conservatoire with Madeleine Lipatti and Nikita Magaloff. After obtaining a first prize in 1955, he studied piano with Yves Nat and Walter Gieseking, and composition in Paris with Noël Gallon and Tony Aubin. His interest in electro-acoustic music developed in 1959 at the Studio de Musique Contemporaine and at the Centre de Recherches Sonores of Radio Suisse Romande in Geneva.

He worked in France playing contemporary music and jazz and won second piano prize at the Geneva competition in 1961. He was music critic on the Journal de Genève, displaying a keen interest in all kinds of music as well as respect for the performers. He later turned mainly to composition while working as a producer at Radio Suisse Romande. In his compositions, he introduced electro-acoustic elements into the traditional symphony orchestra and used poetry, as well as concepts derived from quantum physics and geometry....


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 (...


Geraint Wiggins

(b Edinburgh, Scotland; June 12, 1973). Scottish composer, sound artist, and acoustic ecologist. He was educated at the University of Wales, Bangor (BMus), the University of East Anglia (MMus), and Dartington College of Arts (PhD). Since 1996, he has worked in the UK and internationally as studio composer and acoustic ecologist. His compositions have won international awards (eg., Musica Nova, Prague, in 1997 and 1998), and he co-founded the UK and Ireland Soundscape Community, which he represents at the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. He became the final chair of the Sonic Arts Network in 2008, managing its merger into the new Sound and Music organisation. He was elected to fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) in 2010 and to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts in 2011.

Drever’s sound work has followed two related threads: the documentation of real-world sounds in their context and the use of real-world sounds as the basis material for studio compositions, often intended for multi-channel diffusion in formal concert, but also for installation and for site-specific multi-modal performance, sometimes including dance. It follows, therefore, that much of this earlier work contains elements of documentary: many works give a strong sense of place (both referentially, reminding us of a particular place or kind of place, and spatially, locating us personally in artificial soundscapes). The earlier, more abstract, work, which lies in the European acousmatic tradition, often contains explicit narrative (spoken word is central in several pieces), and this carries through into the more referential kind of meaning present in the later soundscape work, raising stark questions about the possible tensions between, on one hand, meanings brought to soundscape compositions by the listener and, on the other, those intended by the composer. Since ...


Stephen Montague


(b Wolverhampton, Sept 15, 1950). English composer. He studied natural sciences and music education at Cambridge University (1968–72) and took the doctorate in composition at the City University, London in 1982. From 1972 to 1977 he was composer-in-residence at the Digswell Arts Trust, and in 1976 joined the staff of City University, where he has established and developed electronic music studios that have become one of the best facilities of its kind in the British Isles. In 1979 he was a founding member of the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain (now the Sonic Arts Network), which he has continued to serve as a member of the executive committee. Nearly all his works make use of technology in conjunction with acoustic instruments. Live electronics are used to modify and extend the timbres of instruments or voices in an elegant and often unusual way (for example in ...


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 ...


Ivanka Stoianova

(b St Sever, Calvados, Nov 6, 1943). French composer. He abandoned his scientific studies at the age of 20 to devote himself to studying music at the Paris Conservatoire (1966–76), where he won a first prize for composition (in Messiaen’s class). He also studied electro-acoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer (1973–5). Between 1981 and 1992 Gaussin taught composition and orchestration at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. He has been professor of composition and orchestration in the Paris municipal conservatories since 1991. He won the SACEM prize in 1983 and 1989, and the Grand Prix du Disque for Irisation-rituel, Camaïeux and Arcane in 1995. He held bursaries from the Académie de France in Rome between 1977 and 1979, from the DAAD in Berlin in 1985, and from the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto in 1994.

Gaussin also writes poetry, and sees his composition as an essential part of a vast poetic project going beyond craftsmanship, using sound as a material. His music makes its mark through its particularly energetic concept of sound (...


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 (...


Gisela Nauck

(b Oebisfelde, Altmark, June 4, 1954). German composer. In 1977 he became a member of the Dresden multimedia ensemble Schicht, a group active in the politicized singing movement of the DDR. He studied at the Deutsche Hochschule für Musik, Berlin, where his teachers included Wolfram Heicking (1979–83), among others, and at the DDR Akademie der Künste (1985–7), where he was a masterclass student of Georg Katzer. In his instrumental works, such as Ruhestörung (1986) and Und war es noch still (1989), he has focussed on critical questioning and developed a compelling language of sonic and rhythmic gesture. In 1989 he began to explore electro-acoustic music and in this medium devoted himself increasingly to the genres of applied music. As well as writing pieces for solo instrument and tape (to be performed by friends), he created sound installations, music for video, and radio plays. He began to work with musicians such as Chris Cutler and others from the avant-garde rock scene in ...


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 ...


Per F. Broman

(b Stockholm, Jan 29, 1928; d Montreal, Sept 22, 2000). Swedish composer, teacher and broadcaster. He studied the organ with Linder, composition with Raphael (both 1944–8) and organ acoustics with Ernst Karl Rössler (beginning in 1949). In 1947 he began academic studies at the University of Uppsala, graduating in 1950 with a degree in musicology, art history and religious studies. He completed his doctorate in 1956. In 1957 he became a producer for Swedish Radio, being promoted to head of the Chamber Music Department in 1964 and head of Music Production in 1968. In 1972 he was appointed professor of composition at McGill University, Montreal, where he was named Emeritus Professor in 1995.

His compositional output included operas, orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, electro-acoustic music and pedagogical pieces. His contributions to contemporary organ music were of particular importance: in Interferenzen (1962), for example, he elevated timbre – organ stop registration – to the importance of rhythm and pitch; his ...


Stephen Montague

[Douglas Jonathan Taylor]

(b Scunthorpe, April 27, 1952). English composer. He studied at the University of York, taking the PhD in composition there in 1980. From 1976 he lived in London and worked as a composer at the National Theatre before joining the staff at the University of Birmingham (1980); there he developed an outstanding electro-acoustic music studio and the Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST), a multi-speaker sound-diffusion ensemble which tours nationally and internationally. As a composer he has won many international prizes for electro-acoustic music; he is an influential teacher and mentor.

His compositions are very much in the tradition of musique concrète, recording a natural sound (a casserole dish in the case of Klang, 1982, for example) then transforming and combining it electronically in a studio. He describes his method of assembly as ‘pragmatic – testing material in a given context for its perceptual, aural appropriateness, rather than according to some preconceived plan’. His compositional process he regards as ‘a partnership between sound material and composer’, who, he adds, ‘must be sensitive to [the] material's implications for its future development’. His compositional interests are in ‘ambiguities arising from making purely musical, spectromorphological connections between material also recognizable as “real”, everyday sounds, thereby triggering additional “meanings”’....