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Article

Kyle Gann

(Bernd)

(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 ...

Article

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....

Article

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...

Article

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 ...

Article

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....

Article

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 (...

Article

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 ...

Article

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...

Article

Stephen Montague

(Thomas)

(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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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....

Article

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 ...

Article

J.M. Thomson

(b Hastings, New Zealand, Oct 10, 1954). New Zealand composer and teacher. Her studies began in 1973 at the University of Canterbury, where she subsequently became computer music research assistant. In 1978 she attended summer schools in Europe with John Cage and Iannis Xenakis. After experience as a computer programmer, composer, broadcaster and music journalist she held teaching positions at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and at the University of Auckland. She has published papers on computer music and produced radio programmes on new music; she has also written poetry. She sees music and theatre as one entity ‘functioning to transform the people within the society’ and ‘real art [as] a transformative thing’. As a composer Frykberg has specialized in electro-acoustic music theatre. Several of her works (e.g. The Garden, Woman and House) deal with feminist issues. Saxarba examines aspects of women’s spirituality, while Caroline Herschel is Minding the Heavens...

Article

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 (...

Article

Stephen Montague

(Rainer)

(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 (...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

(b New Britain, CT, 1952). American video, new media, and sound artist, electroacoustic composer, and guitarist. Educated at the Eastman School of Music (BM), the Hartt School at the University of Hartford (MM), and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (DMA), Gwiazda is now professor of composition and music theory at Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. Early in his career he composed for orchestra and electric guitar, securing performances by the New Britain Symphony, the American Dance Festival, and others.

In 1986 he turned to electroacoustic music, performing throughout the United States and Europe on sampler, guitar, and tape. In the tradition of musique concrète, Gwiazda’s collage-like pieces emphasized the musical potential inherent in environmental sounds and other so-called noises. In 1992 he began working with virtual audio: the use of sound to simulate immersive, three-dimensional spaces. His 1994 installation buzzingreynold’sdreamland uses a precise configuration of speakers to give the listener the impression of being inside a bowl of sound (Gwiazda’s sampled, vocal, and guitar sounds). ...

Article

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 ...

Article

John Young

(Talbot)

(b Amberley, Aug 1, 1945). New Zealand composer. He studied at the University of Canterbury and with Lilburn at Victoria University of Wellington, where he later became an associate professor. His musical output is eclectic, embracing a variety of genres and styles including chamber music, orchestral works, three operas and electro-acoustic music as well as jazz/rock fusion with his Wellington-based group Free Radicals. He has acknowledged the importance of the electro-acoustic medium for his early development, which provided an aesthetic freedom and technical control he relished. The introduction of FM synthesizers and MIDI in the early 1980s allowed him to consolidate this with works that frequently involve play on natural harmonic series, such as Haiku and Harmonicity, as well as being notable for subtle suggestions of natural environmental sounds, as in Horn Call on Makara Cliff. In recent years he has turned increasingly to instrumental music, where influential sources have always been Schoenberg, Berg and Stravinsky. His present work aims to reconcile aspects of tonal function and more formalized set theoretical approaches to composition, as in ...