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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”’....


Stephen Montague

revised by Anya Laurence

(b Los Angeles, CA, Aug 1, 1951). American composer. He studied composition at UCLA with paul Chihara (BA 1973), roy Travis , and boris Kremenliev (ma 1975) and at the University of Illinois with salvatore Martirano , herbert Brün , and ben Johnston (dma 1978). He became composer-in-residence at Stiftelsen Electronic Studio, Stockholm, Sweden (1978–79) and taught at several universities in the United States and Canada before being appointed director of the Center for Experimental Music at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1980. He has received many honors, including an NEA grant (1981) and awards at the Concours International de Musique Electroacoustique, Bourges, France (1979, 1981) and the International Computer Music Competition in Boston (1983). Heifetz wrote exclusively vocal and instrumental works until 1976, when he first encountered electro-acoustic music at Illinois. Since 1977, nearly all his works have used an electro-acoustic medium. The titles of his tape pieces often serve almost as programs and strongly reflect the music. His compositions show a leaning toward simple forms, such as ternary form (...


Marta Cureses

(b Madrid, May 31, 1951). Spanish composer . He graduated as an industrial engineer (1982) and obtained a PhD for his thesis Arte radiofonico at the Universidad Complutense, Madrid (1997). Musically he is in part self-taught, but also studied at the Laboratorio Alea in Madrid with Jesús Ocaña, at the University of Pau (France) with David Johnson (1977) and at the Madrid Conservatory with Pablo (1977–8). He has belonged to various groups and collectives, including the Seminario de Arte e Informática and Elenfante, and he has worked with the Laboratorio de Interpretación Musical. Since 1985 he has directed the programme ‘Ars Sonora’ on the music programme of Spanish National Radio.

As a composer Iges has focussed primarily on electronic and electro-acoustic music and on multimedia, and he has written 40 pieces for radio. Since 1984 he has also collaborated with the singer Esperanza Abad, for whom he wrote works such as ...


Octavian Cosma

revised by Valentina Sandu-Dediu

(b Bucharest, Romania, March 29, 1949). Romanian composer. After studying composition with Niculescu at the Bucharest Conservatory, he graduated in 1975 and became a sound engineer at Romanian Radio-Television in 1980. As well as attending classes in Darmstadt in 1980 and 1984 (where he was awarded the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis, 1984), Ioachimescu refined his electronic techniques at (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) (IRCAM) in Paris, taking a computer music course there in 1985. He was founder and director of the electro-acoustic music studio of the Romanian Composer’s Union (1991–2010).

Călin Ioachimescu has transformed the laws of acoustics, psychoacoustics, and electro-acoustics into laws of composition that determine musical form. He has preferred to combine the natural-instrumental timbre with the artificial-electronic one (Oratio II, Celliphonia, and Musique spectrale), but he has also written music for purely instrumental ensembles in the same professional and perfectionist manner (Palindrom/7 and his Concertos for saxophone, flute, and cello). Live-electronic improvisation and advanced PC programmes for the digital handling of sound are some of the techniques Ioachimescu has painstakingly developed. But beyond this preoccupation with method there lies a genuinely talented composer who has also pondered the communicative and persuasive power of his music. He argues that through applying research into the analysis and synthesis of sound to composition, one can reach a “new consonance” in the composer-performer-listener relationships....


Margaret Myers

(b Stockholm, 1956). Swedish composer. She studied the piano (Gunnar Hallhagen) and composition and electro-acoustic music (Gunnar Bucht, Sven-David Sandström and Pär Lindgren) at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, graduating in 1987. Contact with Xenakis, Ferneyhough and Emmanuel Nunes convinced her to continue her composition studies in France, where she has settled. In addition to Nunes and Ferneyhough, important influences have been Giacinto Scelsi, Helmut Lachenmann, Morton Feldman and John Cage. She is a member of the Swedish Composers’ Guild and has regularly received important commissions.

Isaksson’s music is largely acoustic, with an ascetic sensitivity to unusual sound combinations, reinforced by her use of micro-intervals. She aims at a homogenous body of sound, although she often strives to use the extremities of the vocal and instrumental ranges. Each voice or instrument asserts its individuality, but with balance and restraint. Her forms are carefully designed through sketches that show timespan, register and sound. She speaks of her pieces as naked, vulnerable, empty landscapes where sounds seed themselves, take root and sprout. Creation for her is an organic process, involving the deconstruction then synthesis of elements....


Carmen Helena Téllez

(b Caracas, Aug 27, 1959). Venezuelan composer. She studied in Caracas with Alfredo del Mónaco, then at the University of York (doctorate, 1988), where her teachers included Hoyland (composition) and Orton (electro-acoustic music). She was appointed a lecturer in music at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas.

Izarra is one of the emerging Latin American composers of the post-1950 generation, and her work has earned international recognition in festivals worldwide. Her early works show the influence of post-war European experimentalism, but since 1982 she has used the rhythmical and instrumental resources of traditional Venezuelan music with varying degrees of abstraction and manipulation. Her harmonic language is dissonant, with tonal resolutions on unisons, while her melodic material often imitates the calls of Venezuelan birds, notably in works for the flute, for which she employs a variety of extended techniques (e.g. Pitangus sulphuratus). After 1990 Izarra has experimented with minimalism, medieval techniques and Baroque forms, such as isorhythm, canon and the Spanish folía. She pays special attention to the guitar, composing prolifically for her husband, Rubén Riera. Izarra's approach stems from a playful exploration of contemporary compositional tools, but her style always manifests assured technique and refined expression....


Anna Šerých

(b Kladno, March 22, 1932). Czech composer . She studied composition at the Prague Conservatory (1952–8) with Emil Hlobil and later (1962–4) with Alois Hába, whose teaching, together with her friendship with Sláva Vorlová, proved significant to her development as a composer. She undertook postgraduate study at the Janáček Academy of Musical Arts in Brno with Ctirad Kohoutek and particularly Alois Piňos (1976–8). For more than 30 years she has worked as a music editor for Czechoslovak Radio in Prague, an experience which has encouraged her to write electro-acoustic music. Most of this music is for film and radio but it also includes a ballet, Lod’ bláznů (‘The Ship of Fools’, 1991), which won a Czech Music Fund prize. Jiráčková enjoys writing for the human voice, which she treats as an instrument, but her output covers a wide range of genres and includes educational music. (...


Miroslav Pudlák

(b Rychnov nad Kneznou, Jan 9, 1955). Czech composer. He studied theory, composition (with Zouhar) and electronic music at the Brno Academy, and in 1983 was appointed editor-producer at Czechoslovak Radio in Prague. In 1996 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His works have been performed at the Bourges, Stockholm, Paris (UNESCO) and Linz international festivals of electro-acoustic music and at the Münchener Biennale, which commissioned from Jirásek the percussion piece Bread and Circuses. His St Luke Passion, commissioned by the Kulturzentrum Gasteig in Munich, is a reconstruction of Carl Orff’s lost stage version of the Lukaspassion attributed to J.S. Bach (which survives only in manuscript). His musical language is based on simple material incorporated into sophisticated musical structures. He absorbs a wide range of stylistic elements, including those of extra-European cultures and genres such as folk, pop, rock and film music. He received the prize of the Czech Music Fund in ...


Rolf Haglund

(Rolf Mikael)

(b Stockholm, Sept 14, 1958). Swedish composer. He is the son of the composer Maurice Karkoff. Following private studies in orchestration and counterpoint aged 16, and playing in different genres on various instruments, he studied composition with Bucht and electro-acoustic music with Lindgren at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen from 1978 to 1982. He also took lessons with Ferneyhough. He gave instruction in ear training at the Edsbergs Musikinstitut from 1985 to 1987 and in orchestration and theory, first at the Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut and then, from 1986 to 1992, at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Since 1992 he has also been programme host on Swedish Radio and a writer on music for the newspaper Dagens nyheter. His music is sharp in detail and finely polished in the manner of chamber music (his orchestral music included), but many works appear fragmentary, with emphasis on the moment and allusions to earlier music (especially that of the Romantic period) and to non-European music. Of his piece ...


Sigrid Wiesmann

(b Vienna, April 22, 1941). Austrian composer, conductor and stage director. He studied at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik (teaching diploma, 1965) with Schiske, von Einem and others and at the Paris Conservatoire (1967–9), where his teachers included Messiaen and Leibowitz; he also studied electro-acoustics with François Bayle and Pierre Schaeffer. He has worked as a freelance composer for Austrian Radio (from 1966) and taught at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik (from 1970, professor 1990). A founding member of the Groupe International de Musique Electroacoustique de Paris (1969), he also co-founded the K & K Experimentalstudio, Vienna (1975), which has staged many productions of his works, and the Gesellschaft für Elektroakustische Musik (1984, chair 1988–91). He has served as chair (1988–91) of the Austrian section of the ISCM and as a committee member for Austro Mechana (from ...


Robin Elliott


(b Akron, OH, Nov 15, 1943). Canadian composer. He studied composition and the double bass at Ohio State University (BMus 1965, MMus 1967) and then moved to Canada as a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam. After spending three years in Vancouver as a music teacher and professional bassist, he joined the staff of the music department at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (1970–97). He established and directed the electronic music studio at Queen’s, and subsequently wrote the book Tape Music Composition (London, 1980). He became a Canadian citizen in 1974.

Keane’s research interests include music perception and cognition, and the history, techniques and aesthetics of electro-acoustic music. He has written a considerable amount of music for amateur and young musicians, in addition to his large output of electro-acoustic, multimedia and concert music. Influences on his compositional style range from medieval music to computer music technology. He has travelled widely in Europe and North America to lecture on electro-acoustic music and supervise performances of his own works. (...


Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner


(b Chicago, April 14, 1943). American composer. She took the BA at the University of California at Berkeley (1967), a diploma at the conservatory in Basle (1977) and the MA at New York University (1987). Her principal teachers were Weidenaar, Kessler, Dodge, Lilli Friedemann and Ruth Anderson. She has been an instructor and director at the computer music studios of New York University and created the Electro-Acoustic Music Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. She has been guest composer and artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College, at the Brooklyn College Center for Computer Music and at the Studio for Electronic Music in Basle. Her works are mostly for the electronic medium and include sound installations, music for theatre and collaborations with visual artists. In 1988 she received special honours at the Bourges international electro-acoustic music competition for From the Journals of Felix Bosonnet...


Christian Scheib

(b Kobe, Dec 5, 1947). German composer of Japanese birth. She studied composition in Vienna with Haubenstock-Ramati and in Germany with Lachenmann. In 1985 she settled in Berlin. Her compositional style shows the influence of her piano training (in Tokyo and Vienna) and her study of electro-acoustic music. A renunciation of stylistic unity, characterized by changes from one medium or genre to another, is central to her musical aesthetic. Her works often contain references to literature, current events and biographical material, and quote from German and Japanese folksong, Viennese waltzes and other musical sources. Some of her compositions are emphatically experimental, employing unconventional performance techniques to produce ‘noise’.

An analysis of structurally and socially conditioned violence is a common thread running through Kubo's works. In radio plays such as Ich bin 99 Jahre alt (1988), she uses speech to comment on social development; in the Klavierstück für zwei Hände...


Annette Vande Gorne

(b Nidrum, April 16, 1935). Belgian composer. In 1962, after taking a degree in musicology at the University of Liège and the Université Libre of Brussels, he joined the APELAC studio (founded in 1958 by Pousseur), the first electronic music studio in Belgium, and began working for the musical sound-effects department of the RTBF. In 1967 he set up his own ‘studio for experimentation and auditory electronic construction’ in Brussels. He won the Prix Magistère of the Bourges international competition (1989) and became a member of the International Academy of Electro-Acoustic Music in Bourges. He was also awarded a prize for new forms of musical expression (1990) by the Société Belge des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs (SABAM).

As a pioneer of electronic music, Küpper has devised robots whose synthesized sounds are set off and stimulated by the human voice and the audience, or may be auto-stimulated, engendering a complex environment derived from a large number of sources (for instance, 350 audio channels at the Venice Biennale of ...


José Iges

(b Madrid, March 9, 1958). Spanish composer . She took higher degrees in piano and composition at the Madrid Conservatory (1986–8) and the MA at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics of the University of Stanford, California (1986–7). In 1988 she was appointed professor of electro-acoustic composition at the Madrid Conservatory and founded the Laboratorio de Informática Musical there. Her apprenticeship with John Chowning and Leland Smith at Stanford led to her specialization in electro-acoustic music, but she continued to compose for traditional groups of instruments. In these her interest in numerical structures and their combinations is evident, as can be seen in Kinesis-2 (1987) and in Seis para seis (1990). She has become increasingly interested in basing the structure of her works on mathematical relations of natural phenomena, such as volcanos in Chío (1989), or the cosmos in ...


Huib Ramaer

(b The Hague, April 27, 1946). Dutch composer. He studied music education and the flute at the Goois Muziklyceum before studying philosophy and music at Leiden University (1970–75). During this period he became known as a composer and worked with student ensembles. He then studied musicology and electronic music at the University of Utrecht's Institute for Sonology. La voce del corno, a radiophonic work, received honourable mentions in the Italia Prize contest and at the Rostrum for Electro-Acoustic Music. Critical of the enclosed world of new music that has existed since Darmstadt, Laman has pleaded for a culture of greater openness towards the public, and for greater effort to be made in the education of contemporary music. While working at VPRO-Radio in Hilversum, he has been able to put some of his ideas into practice.

Agamemnon, his opera of 1997, is the first part of a trilogy based on the Oresteia; the large ensemble in this work creates the most refined musical mosaics possible, giving the audience a soundscape of their own time, but through the glasses of Aeschylus. In order to express the doom over the house of the Atriden, Laman invented an instrument with an enormous string that offers a very low D. Such well-known ensembles as the Residentie-Orkest of the Hague, the Schönberg Ensemble and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble have performed his works....


Ryan Dohoney

(b Paris, France, Oct 20, 1950). American composer, keyboardist, electronic musician, and improviser of French birth; naturalized American; daughter of jazz pianist and drummer Errol Parker. She began studying piano and harmony at age 7 and composing at 12. Lauten received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Institut d’Études Politiques in 1971. The following year she relocated to New York City, where she participated in the burgeoning punk rock scene. Through guitarist Denise Feliu, Lauten met the poet Allen Ginsberg, who would have a significant impact upon her spiritual and musical life.

Lauten’s compositional and improvisational practice is exemplary of the musical aesthetics of downtown New York in the 1970s and 80s. A practitioner of both US popular music and European classical music, Lauten blended the two styles with minimalist experimentalism. Lauten’s studies in New York City brought her into contact with the varied denizens of downtown musical life. She studied Indian raga with ...


Bruno Giner

(b Talence, July 12, 1940). French composer . After studying at the Schola Cantorum, he entered Pierre Schaeffer’s electro-acoustic music class at the Paris Conservatoire and became a member of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (Ina-GRM) from 1969 to 2000. In 1978 he was appointed director of the Ateliers de Musique Électroacoustique in Paris. In 1994 he received the Prix Musica Nova, and founded the Paysaginaire association to promote electroacoustic music. Since 2000, his interest for ‘interwoven languages’ has lead him to define a new form he called ‘musical fable’, consisting in diffusing his music on speakers, accompanied by images and projected poems. In this process, the music takes the lead, all the while taking into account the reflections that spring from the use of the other ‘languages’ that are woven into it. According to the composer’s presentation of this new genre: ‘When a text that is recited or set to music is already present in the piece, the projected poem is then either superimposed (...


Dominique Druhen

(b Boulogne, Sept 25, 1959). French composer . He attended the Paris Conservatoire (1978–83), where he studied composition with Malec, analysis with Ballif and electro-acoustic music with Schaeffer and Reibel, gaining three premiers prix. From 1993 to 1995 he was resident at the Académie de France, Rome. He received the Hervé Dugardin prize of the SACEM in 1994, and a second prize from that organization in 1996 for the violin concerto (d')ALLER.

Leroux's approach to colour and harmonic organization owes something to Spectral music. But in its instrumental writing and its emphasis on rhythmic movement his music owes more to Ligeti. Leroux makes frequent use of repetition, but within a framework of continuous variation, playing on oppositions between continuity and discontinuity, proximity and distance, developmental logic and random association. The works of his later period have shown a greater playfulness in their exploration of musical procedures, together with an ongoing concern for clarity and elegance in the presentation of ideas. He has written in a wide variety of genres from pedagogical pieces to electro-acoustic works such as ...


Rolf Haglund


(b Göteborg, Jan 16, 1952). Swedish composer. With a background in rock music, he first trained as a guitar teacher at the Framnäs School of Music (1970–74), then studied composition with Bucht and Bodin at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm (1975–9). In 1980 he began to teach in the field of electro-acoustic music at the college and in 1998 became professor of composition there.

Electro-acoustic music was his main concern from the late 1970s but more recently a sophisticated, versatile and finely structured instrumental music has become increasingly prominent. He is frequently inspired by non-European music, as in Oaijé (first prize at the International Rostrum for Composers in Paris, 1996), the peculiar sound and line play of which was influenced by Arabic patterns. Visual ideas of form are sometimes converted into billowing patterns, as in Fragments of a Circle, conceived after Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of the movements of water, or in ...