- J. Michele Edwards
(b Oakland, CA, Oct 6, 1939). American composer and pianist. She studied composition at Mills College (BA 1961), the University of California, Berkeley (1966–8), and California State University, San Francisco (MA 1972). Her teachers included Milhaud and Leon Kirchner (composition), and Alexander Libermann (piano). In 1976 she was appointed to teach at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she was head of composition from 1985 to 1996. Eschewing such directions as serial writing and minimalism, she has developed an individual voice that draws together diverse materials through strong articulation of phrasing and gesture. Her compositions are often programmatic yet avoid musical literalism. Written in collaboration with the author Ursula K. Le Guin, Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts represents an imaginative cycle of eight separate works for various forces. In this fantasy journey through an archipelago each island puts music to extraordinary uses; for example as food, aphrodisiac, geology or as a means of survival. The first piece in this cycle, ...