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Article

Jody Diamond

(b Bay Shore, NY, April 7, 1946). American composer, performer, instrument builder and ethnomusicologist. She received the BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and the MA and PhD from Wesleyan University, where she studied Indonesian and Indian music. She has performed with the ensembles of Philip Glass, Jon Gibson, Alvin Lucier, Philip Corner and Daniel Goode. In 1976 she co-founded, with Corner and Goode, the Gamelan Son of Lion, New York, a new music collective and repertory ensemble under her direction. In addition, she has built several Javanese-style iron gamelans, including the instruments used by the Gamelan Son of Lion and Gamelan Encantada, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Benary’s compositional output has been primarily in the areas of ensemble and chamber music, and music for the theatre. She has described herself as a ‘part-time minimalist who also likes to write melody’. Many of her works integrate world music forms, structures and instruments with traditional Western materials. Her works for gamelan ensemble, which number more than 30, have been performed internationally. ...

Article

(b Springfield, MA, June 13, 1965). American composer, performer, and instrument maker, based in Oakland, California. She holds the BA in Computer Science and Music from Dartmouth College (1987) and MA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College (1992), and since 1993 has taught electronic music at the College of San Mateo. She performs on french horn and acoustic and electronic instruments of her own design, often with the improvisation ensemble Vorticella. Among her original instruments are amplified rocking chairs, bull kelp horns, Leaf Speakers, the Gliss Glass, and the Sliding Speaker. Her composition Lift, Loft, Lull explores the sonic properties of balloons as resonators in instruments made of metal bars, pipes, plates, and scraps. Bobrowski’s kelp horns (1989 and later) are long, slender conical tubes of natural kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), slowly dried and shaped, and blown like a brass instrument. Leaf Speakers (...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

revised by Kyle Devine

(b Southgate, CA, Apr 17, 1937). American electronic instrument designer and builder, composer, and performer. After graduating from UC Berkeley (BA in physics, 1961) Buchla worked on a variety of projects, including a transistorized hearing aid and a NASA bid to send monkeys on long-term space missions. He also became affiliated with the San Francisco Tape Music Center where, alongside composers like Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, he refined his interest in musique concrète and began searching for electronic alternatives to the laborious and necessarily preplanned cutting and splicing that characterized tape composition. In 1963, with the aid of a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and simultaneously but independently from Robert Moog, he designed and built one of the first voltage-controlled synthesizers, the Modular Electronic Music System (part of the Buchla 100 series). By 1966, the first complete Buchla synthesizer was installed at the Tape Center. He formed Buchla & Associates in Berkeley in the same year to manufacture synthesizers. Apart from a brief period (...

Article

Dale Cockrell and Hugh Davies

(b San Francisco, May 17, 1941). American composer, writer, and instrument maker. He studied composition with Grant Fletcher at Arizona State University (BM 1963) and with Halsey Stevens, Dahl, and Perle at the University of Southern California (MM 1965). He then taught at Kansas State College, California Lutheran College, the Cleveland Institute, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since the early 1970s (particularly from 1979, working at Santa Cruz) he has constructed several percussion instruments for use in his own compositions. The Way (completed 1981) is based on Navajo Indian rituals, and is written in a system of just intonation having 33 notes to the octave. The instruments it uses are mostly of familiar types, and include aluminium bells, a large drum, plastic tubes blown transversely, and musical glasses. There are also parts for several ‘symbiotic’ instruments based on interacting systems of vibration and resonance: the Logsprinoka, for example, consists of a form of nail violin, and long springs stretched over bridges, which are attached to a 2-metre log drum. Some instruments, some with only one note, were made from Navajo prayer stones and other materials obtained from Canyon de Chelley in Arizona. Cope has also explored unconventional playing techniques and prepared instruments....

Article

David Roberts

(Seymour)

(b Exmouth, April 23, 1943; d London, Jan 1, 2005). English composer, instrument inventor, performer and writer on music. After reading music at Oxford University (1961–4) he worked with Stockhausen between 1964 and 1966; in the following year he became director of the electronic music studio at Goldsmiths College, London, later becoming its research consultant (1986–91). He was the first Secretary of the International Confederation for Electroacoustic Music (1982–6) and an external consultant for electronic musical instruments at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (1986–93). From 1999 he was a part-time researcher in sonic art at the Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University.

Starting in 1968 he was active in a number of groups specializing in improvisation and the realization of indeterminate scores. From 1967 he devised and constructed over 120 instruments, sound sculptures, sound installations and musical toys, many of which incorporate found objects and cast-off materials. About half, primarily the concert instruments, are electro-acoustic, using mainly contact and magnetic microphones; they include different types of ‘shozyg’ (Davies’s generic name for the instruments he has built using a selection of commonplace sound-producing objects mounted inside everyday containers) and a family of a dozen ‘springboards’ (amplified springs stretched over blockboard). He composed for conventional forces, tape, live electronics and his own instruments, including several music theatre works, and devised environmental music projects and documented unusual sound environments....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b St Joseph, MO, July 11, 1939; d Petaluma, CA, July 9, 2005). American musician, composer, and experimental instrument maker. He was a jazz pianist in Kansas City before turning in the 1960s to playing keyboard with San Francisco rock groups. Disillusioned by commercial work, he began composing ‘fusion’ music and making instruments (often inspired by non-Western models) with which to play it. He described himself as an itinerant flute-maker and sold his popular bamboo flutes and other creations at Bay Area fairs and concerts. Inventions of his include the Wind Wand (a long dowel with a handle and an adjustable cross-piece intersecting a large rubber band stretched over the ends of the dowel; swung in a circle or back and forth, it produces four pitches); Spirit Catcher (a smaller Wind Wand with two rubber bands, producing eight tones); Butu (a section of bamboo with fingerholes, played by striking the bottom on a hard surface and fingering the holes to change the pitch); Groove Stick (a long bamboo scraper), as well as the Tank, the Circular Violin, and a bamboo xylophone. He shared his music and instruments with public school classes, where he was known as ‘Mr. Sound Magic’. In later years DeVore explored improvisation together with like-minded musicians and experimental instrument makers including Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, and Richard Waters. After DeVore’s death many of his instruments were donated to local schools....

Article

Graham Lack

(b Karlsruhe, Feb 26, 1954). German composer, instrument builder and performer. He studied saxophone with Ariel Kalma in Paris, Indian classical music with Kamalesh Maitra in Berlin and India and the ney with Ali Reza Asgharia. Durand began constructing wind instruments, mostly built from PVC and plexiglass, in the early 1980s and performs his own music on these, as well as saxophone and ney. He is also active in collaborating with and organizing international music festivals and artist exchanges in the fields of both traditional and avant-garde music in Berlin and elsewhere. Recent collaborations include The Beatless Sax Oldrones, a saxophone quartet specializing in just intonation, and The Armchair Traveller, a group with Sebastian Hilken (cello and percussion), Hella von Plotz (glass harp) and Silvia Ocougne (acoustic guitars). He founded the group The Thirteenth Tribe, and continues to contribute music to theatre, dance, film and radio productions. In ...

Article

Kathryn Bridwell Briner

(David )

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 27, 1950). American horn player, historical horn maker, music educator, and composer. He studied horn with Ernani Angelucci, John Barrows, Helen Kotas, Ethel Merker, Frank Brouk, and Dale Clevenger. He was appointed assistant principal horn for the Detroit Symphony in 1972, and has also performed as principal horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic (1978–80), the Cincinnati Symphony (1984–6), the Toledo Symphony (1990–7), and as guest principal horn with the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He has taught the horn at Interlochen Arts Academy, Wheaton College, Oakland University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, the School of Perfection in Mexico City, and the Carl Nielsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. Greer has written solo pieces for both the modern and natural (valveless) horn, as well as a mass for hunting horns and organ.

Noted for his flexible tone and facile technique, Greer has toured widely as a soloist and has made notable recordings, particularly on the natural horn; those recordings include Beethoven’s Sonata for horn, Brahms’ Trio for horn, violin, and piano, and the horn concertos of Mozart....

Article

(b Boston, April 28, 1951). American instrument builder, composer, and performer, noted for constructing instruments from discarded objects. He studied composition with Milton Babbitt at Princeton and in 1989–90 pursued music performance and instrument making in Java in connection with the activities of his wife, the late Deena Burton, founder of Arts Indonesia. Since 1974, when LaPlante first sought new sounds as a dance accompanist and composer (he has written about 100 works for dance performances), he has made hundreds of instruments of all kinds from recycled materials, some inspired by non-Western models. In 1975 he co-founded (with Carole Weber) the ensemble Music for Homemade Instruments, a New York collective involving instrument makers, performers, and composers. As a member of the American Festival of Microtonal Music he has made new versions of instruments such as Julian Carillo’s 96-note-per-octave harp and various types built by Harry Partch. He conducts instrument-making workshops for children under auspices of Bash The Trash and Young Audiences of New York, and has collaborated in theatre productions with Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin....

Article

Stephen Montague

(b Mount Vernon, NY, Nov 24, 1953). American composer, computer instruments inventor and educator. He studied composition and cello at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1971–3), Columbia University (1973–4), the Juilliard School (BM 1975, MM 1977), specialising in computer music technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. His principal teachers were Luigi Dallapiccola (1973), Roger Sessions (1973–5) and Elliott Carter (1975–8). He was the principal cellist with the Canadian Opera Company (1975–6) and a guest composer at IRCAM, Paris (1978–9), where he subsequently served as director of musical research (1980–84). He returned to the United States and in 1985 joined the faculty of MIT as professor of music and media at its new media laboratory and became director of the Experimental Media Facility and head of the Hyperinstruments/Opera of the Future group where he continues to work. In ...

Article

Olivia Mattis

(b Columbus, NE, 1926; d San Francisco, April 21, 2011). American engineer, inventor and composer. One of the pioneers of computer music, he was a member of the Bell Telephone Laboratories group that included John Pierce and Newman Guttman. He studied electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology (BS 1950) and MIT (MS 1952, ScD 1954) before working in acoustic research at Bell Labs (1955–87). In 1987 he was appointed to a professorship at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). His many honours include the SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music (1989) and the French Legion of Honour (1994).

Mathews’ best-known composition, his rendition of Bicycle Built for Two using instrumental and vocal sounds synthesized by the computer (1961), became a cultural icon when it was used as the basis of the final scene of Stanley Kubrick’s film ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Milan, Italy, July 31, 1941; d 2002). Italian composer, pianist, photographer, and designer of instruments. He studied piano and composition at the Milan Conservatory and photography at the London College of Printing before moving in 1963 to New York, where he assisted Richard Avedon. He returned to Milan in 1967 and the following year opened a commercial photography studio, while also pursuing music and video art. In 1972–3 he was a member of NADMA (the Natural Arkestra de Maya Alta), which mixed Asian-inspired sounds with jazz and other Western genres. From the mid-1970s he composed theatrical concert works in which traditional instruments and their performance techniques are reassessed, and devised several large-scale sound environments. In Quartet (c1975) a harpist with harp is encased in a one-piece fitted, knitted, costume-like covering, a performer on free-reed instruments (mouth organ, accordion, and foot-operated table bandoneon) is gradually incapacitated by being mummified in sticky tape, and a violinist and pianist have their fields of operation restricted by specially constructed containers for parts of their instruments. In another work a harp is played with metal mesh gloves to which about 50 nails are attached. Mosconi’s sound environments include ...

Article

Sophie Fuller

(b Devizes, Wilts., Dec 31, 1925; d Maidstone, Kent, Jan 5, 2003). English composer, technician and inventor. Educated at Sherborne School for Girls, she turned down a place at the RCM in order to work at the BBC as a music balancer for classical music broadcasts. A pioneer in integrating music and technology, she began to experiment with sound manipulation in 1944 and in 1950 submitted her work Still Point for orchestra, five microphones and manipulated recordings to the BBC. In 1957 she established a radiophonic unit at the BBC and was one of the directors of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop when it opened in 1958. Later that year she left the BBC and set up her own studio in Kent. Her experiments in converting graphic information into sound – aided by Gulbenkian grants in 1962 and 1965 – led to the development of her Oramics system, a photoelectric digital/analogue composition machine that gives the composer control of subtle nuances in all parameters (including amplitude, envelope shaping, rhythm, timbre control, microtonal pitch and vibrato), which are drawn onto ten parallel tracks of 35mm film and then transported by a motor through the photoelectric sound-generating system. In the 1960s Oram lectured widely on electronic music and many composers, including Thea Musgrave, used her studio facilities....

Article

Eckart Schwinger

revised by Lars Klingberg

(b Rostock, Sept 12, 1941). German composer, instrument maker and performer. He studied composition with Wagner-Régeny, the piano with Walter Olbertz and choral conducting with Fritz Höft at the East Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1962–8), and then was lecturer in theory at the musicological institute of the East Berlin Humboldt University (until 1974). His studies were completed in Paul Dessau’s masterclass at the German Academy of Arts (1972–4). In 1974 he founded the East Berlin ‘Klangwerkstatt’. In 1980, concerned about East German cultural and educational policy, he moved to West Germany. Since then he has given performances in Western Europe and in the USA on instruments he has made himself. He has received scholarships to work in the electronic studios at Freiburg (1981) and at the IRCAM (1982). He taught music to students of music therapy in Heidelberg between ...

Article

Raoul F. Camus

(b New York, Jan 25, 1921; d Coral Gables, FL, Sept 17, 2005). American composer and conductor of Austrian descent. Born Alfred Friedman, he began studying the trumpet at the age of ten and was playing professionally under the name Alan Reed while still in high school. Private study in theory and harmony with John Sacco and Paul Yartin (1937–8) led to a position as staff composer, arranger and assistant conductor for the Radio Workshop, New York (1938–42). After serving as associate conductor of the 529th US Air Force Band, he attended the Juilliard School (1946–8) where his teachers included Giannini. In 1948 he took a post as staff composer and arranger for NBC and later held a similar position at ABC. He became conductor of the Baylor University SO in 1953, and continued his education at that institution (BM 1955, MM ...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

revised by David Patterson

(b Fairfield, IA, Sept 9, 1947). American composer, performer and designer and maker of electronic instruments. He studied music at the University of Illinois (1965–7, composition with Binkerd and Martirano, electronic and computer techniques with Hiller) and also privately, learning various instruments, conducting and Indian music. In 1967–8 he went to the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at SUNY, Buffalo, and from there to New York University as a guest lecturer (1968–70). He was director of computer and electronic media research at York University, Toronto (1970–77), developing a computer language for the composition and performance of synthesized music, and computerized electronic instruments for live performance. He also carried out research on biofeedback and the relationship between the information-processing mechanisms of the brain and aesthetic experience. He served as artistic director of the Electric Circus in New York (1967–8) and helped found the Neurona Company, which carries out research and development in arts and technology. He joined the faculty at Mills College in ...

Article

Suzanne Beal

(b Istein, now part of Efringen-Kirchen, Germany, Nov 26, 1951). German instrument inventor, kinetic sculptor, sound artist, and composer, known as Trimpin. His father was a brass and woodwind player, and Trimpin played with old instruments as a child but developed an allergy to metals that precluded performing on brass instruments. Instead he experimented with making new devices using old radios and parts of discarded instruments. He studied music and art at the University of Berlin from 1975 to 1979. From 1976 to 1979 he was a musician for the Theater Zentrifuge in Berlin, and designed sets for the San Quentin Drama Workshop under the direction of Rick Cluchey and Samuel Beckett. In 1979 he left Berlin for Seattle and began independent research in sound sculpture design, combining music composition and kinetics with computer technology. From 1985 to 1987 he taught at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, and in ...

Article

Jacqueline Oskamp

(b Leiden, 1949; d June 18, 2008). Dutch composer, inventor of instruments and performer. He was self-taught. He became acquainted with electronics at the age of 16, when his father built a theremin. From 1981 he was director of the Studio voor Elektronische Muziek in the Netherlands.

In the mid-1970s he invented the kraakdoos (cracklebox), which is based on the instability of electronic circuits, usually considered undesirable. In 1981 he composed De Slungels, the first theatrical piece to be performed entirely by robots. Using these theatrical robots, Waisvisz studied both the relationship between man and machine and ways of improving the operation of electronic systems. An important step in this respect was the development of De Handen (hands), a sensitive instrument with which material stored in the computer can be played in real time. Variants on this same principle are De MIDI-Conductor (1985) and Het Web...