Harrison, Jonty [Douglas Jonathan Taylor]
- 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”’....