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Article

Gerard Béhague

(b São Paulo, June 23, 1958). Brazilian composer. He studied electronics at the São Paulo Industrial Engineering School (FEI) (1976–8), at the same time studying composition at São Paulo State University with Conrado Silva and Michel Philippot. A scholarship from the French government took him to Paris, where he continued his composition studies with Manoury and Reibel. In 1983 he completed with distinction his studies in electro-acoustic music and research at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1987 he earned a Master’s degree at the University of Paris VIII under the supervision of Daniel Charles. From 1983 to 1989 he was active in the French groups L’Itinéraire, Espace Musical, La Grande Fabrique, Groupe de Recherches Musicales, and in other ensemble groups of new music in Germany, Italy and Spain. Since 1989 he has been the coordinator of CDMC-Brasil (the Brazilian branch of the French Centre of Documentation of Contemporary Music) at the University of Campinas, where he teaches. From ...

Article

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

(b San Rafael, CA, Jan 11, 1955). American sound artist, turntablist, composer, filmmaker, and visual artist. Raised in Switzerland, Marclay studied sculpture at the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, and the Fluxus movement, the use of found objects became a formative principle of Marclay’s work. He has collaborated with Christian Wolff, Otomo Yoshihide, Sonic Youth, and John Zorn, among others.

In the mid-1970s, Marclay used turntables as improvising musical instruments, apparently inventing Turntablism. Like hip-hop DJs of the same era, though their work proceeded independently, Marclay developed performance techniques such as scratching and mixing. He believes his use of turntables to be similar to Duchamp’s methods: using found objects to create new art, by putting one’s own stamp on the objects and exhibiting them.

Throughout his career, he has embraced the residual noises produced by recording media, especially the hisses and pops of vinyl records. His work emphasizes the fact that when 20th- and 21st-century listeners experience music, oftentimes they are listening not only to the music but to the ...

Article

Rolf Haglund

(b Pécs, Nov 14, 1943). Swedish composer of Hungarian birth. The son of the composer Rudolf Maros, he studied composition with Ferenc Szabó at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He then went to Sweden at the suggestion of Ligeti and continued his studies with Lidholm and Ligeti at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm (1968–72). He taught electro-acoustic music at the Electronic Music Studio (EMS) in Stockholm (1971–8) and at the Royal College of Music (1976–80). Together with his wife, the Hungarian-born singer Ilona Marós, he formed the Marós Ensemble in 1972, which focussed on contemporary music. In 1980–81 he spent a year in West Berlin as a DAAD scholar. He has received a lifetime’s artist’s award from the Swedish government.

Maros was one of a small number of composers in Sweden who worked, early on, with instrumental and electro-acoustic music in parallel. His five ...

Article

Stacey Sewell

(b Washington DC, 1958). American composer, performer, and sound artist. Masaoka’s work is stylistically diverse, drawing on gagaku (Japanese court music), new music, improvisation, jazz, and electronic music. She has performed or collaborated with artists from a range of musical traditions, including Fred Frith, Pharoah Sanders, Dr. L. Subramaniam, the Berkeley Symphony, and the Cecil Taylor Orchestra. Masaoka was the 2004 recipient of the Alpert Award in the Arts. She is married to George Emanuel Lewis.

After receiving her BA in Music from San Francisco State University, Masaoka attended Mills College (MA 1994), where she studied with alvin Curran . She performs on koto (Japanese zither), which she studied with Seiko Shimaoka and Suenobu Togi. She later formed and directed the San Francisco Gagaku Society. Although she began playing traditional koto, Masaoka has since moved into developing her own playing techniques.

Since the 1980s Masaoka has developed interfaces to extend the ...

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

Miroslav Pudlák

(b Trutnov, Czechoslovakia, Nov 8, 1948). Czech composer. He studied in Prague at the Charles University (musicology, 1977–8) and at the Academy of Performing Arts (1978–89) with Václav Riedlbauch (composition) and Karel Riesinger (music theory). For six months in 1996 he studied Japanese traditional music and shakuhachi playing at the University of Osaka. In 1991 he was appointed to teach ethnomusicology and music theory at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. His compositions are strongly influenced by his research in ethnomusicology, using rhythmic and modal structures as well as instruments from non-European cultures. His activities also include electro-acoustic music and collaborations with rock musicians.

(selective list)

Article

Barbara A. Petersen and Lesley A. Wright

(Anne)

(b Fitchburg, MA, May 27, 1942). American composer and performer of electro-acoustic music. She graduated from the State College at Fitchburg (BEd 1963) and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (BME 1965). At Indiana University, Bloomington (MM 1969), she was greatly influenced by the music of Xenakis, who was teaching there. She has taught at Indiana University, Kokomo (1971–3), St Mary's College, Notre Dame (1973–6), and the universities of Hawaii (1985) and Malaysia (1996). From 1976 to 1980 she produced the American Society of Composers ‘Radiofest’ series. In 1974 she and her husband, Barton McLean, began to perform together as the McLean Mix, and in 1983 to present concerts of their own music full-time. She sings with extended vocal techniques and plays the piano, synthesizer, percussion and Amerindian wooden flutes, as well as newly created instruments.

McLean's works range from abstract orchestral and chamber music to dramatic electro-acoustic works. Since ...

Article

Moby  

Stephanie Conn

[Hall, Richard Melville ]

(b Harlem, NY; Sept 11, 1965). American Electronic musician, composer, and DJ. Growing up in Connecticut, Moby (a childhood nickname) studied classical guitar and music theory before founding the suburban punk band Vatican Commandos at age 14. He later learned to play bass guitar, keyboard, and drums. While studying philosophy at University of Connecticut he played with post-punk band AWOL, leaving in 1985 to become more active as a DJ and electronic musician and eventually moving to New York City.

He is critically recognized for his creative combining of electronic house music and judiciously chosen samples; he has also achieved worldwide popular success and brought the genre to mainstream attention. His 1991 single “Go,” which included a sampled theme from David Lynch’s cult TV series Twin Peaks, reached the UK top ten. His breakthrough album Play (1999) sold 10 million copies worldwide in the first year and yielded eight hit singles including “Porcelain,” “Natural Blues,” and “Why does my heart feel so bad?” ...

Article

Francesc Taverna-Bech

(b Granada, 1953). Spanish composer. He trained at the Barcelona Conservatory, and went on to study composition with Brncic and Vaggione, and the application of computer techniques to electro-acoustic music with Lluís Callejo. He took part in the 12th and 13th Manuel de Falla competitions in Granada, and attended composition seminars at the Miró Foundation in Barcelona, the New Music one-day seminars in Sitges, the 1st GME Composition seminar in Cuenca and the International Contemporary Music Competition in Darmstadt. He collaborated with the Phonos electro-acoustic music studio in Barcelona. His compositions have figured in the programmes of international concert cycles and festivals specializing in contemporary music, and have been broadcast on the main national radio channels.

Moreno's music has its origins in the encounter of two very disparate worlds: the fundamental western musical tradition and the theories of electro-acoustic composition. In some ways his attitude towards composition may be defined by his complete lack of preconceived ideas and by his search for new ways of organizing sound. (...

Article

Richard S. James

revised by David Revill

(b Framingham, MA, March 30, 1935). American composer and performer of electronic music. He attended the School of Music (1952–3) and Institute of Science and Technology (1959–62) of the University of Michigan and studied composition, piano and the horn privately. As a composer and performer he co-founded and worked with the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music in Ann Arbor (1958–66) and the ONCE Group (1960–68). Mumma also collaborated with Milton Cohen's Space Theater in Ann Arbor (1957–64) and in New York with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1966–74) and the Sonic Arts Union (from 1966). With these ensembles and as a soloist, he toured widely in the Americas, Europe and Japan. From 1973 to 1992, he taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz; he has also held numerous visiting lectureships, including Darius Milhaud Professor at Mills College (...

Article

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

(b Madison, WI, 1979). American sound artist, installation artist, electronic composer, laptop performer, and visual artist. Based in Los Angeles, he has collaborated with Will Long, Mise_En_Scene, and Marc Manning, among others, and exhibited and performed throughout the United States and Europe. He owns and operates Dragon’s Eye Recordings, which promotes promising but under-recognized sound artists and composers.

Novak’s installations, along with his electronic compositions and performances, typically consist of quiet, subtly shifting textures. These sounds are often field recordings of environmental sounds, digitally transformed into exquisite drones or slow-moving melodies, as in +ROOM (2009). Novak’s work is often associated with Ambient music, demonstrating the fluid, and indeed questionable, nature of the boundary between music and field recording or, generally speaking, between music and sound art. However, unlike ambient music, Novak’s pieces are often programmatic. The goal, in many of his works, is to transform documentation into narrative by digitally altering prerecorded sounds and images. His alterations often consist not of fleshing out sounds and images by adding to their characteristics, but of digitally erasing their distinguishing features. He may obliterate the movement that we typically see in video, reducing it to a static expanse of color. Similarly, he alters environmental sounds beyond recognition into contemplative textures....

Article

Hallgjerd Aksnes

(b Oslo, July 19, 1954). Norwegian composer. A piano student at the Norwegian State Academy of Music and in Paris (1974–81), Ore subsequently turned to composition studies at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht and with Ton de Leeuw at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam (1981–6). In the 1980s Ore won international recognition for several of her electro-acoustic works, receiving an honourable mention at the Concours International de Musique Electro-Acoustique Bourges 1985 for Im-Mobile, and both first and second prizes at the International Rostrum for Electro-Acoustic Music 1988 for Etapper (‘Stages’). In the same year she also received the Norwegian Society of Composers’ ‘Composition of the Year’ award for Porphyre, as well as the Norwegian State Guarantee Income for Artists. Towards the end of the decade Ore became increasingly involved with the problem of time in music, an involvement which resulted in the tetralogy ...

Article

Luis Carlos Gago

(b Castejón, Oct 13, 1952). Spanish composer and teacher. He studied at the Madrid Conservatory and the Orff Institute in Salzburg, where he specialized in music teaching. From his formative years he was interested in bringing music closer to ordinary people through performing, composing, teaching and writing. His strong sense of humour is manifested in his espousal of the whistle and the tiny plastic trumpet, of which instruments he is an outstanding virtuoso. He has commissioned and given premières of works by notable Spanish composers and performed in several festivals of contemporary music.

As a composer, he was active in all the avant-garde trends in Madrid in the 1970s and 80s. An excellent craftsman, his language is mainly eclectic, as it is shown in pieces written for genres as diverse as electro-acoustic music (Un millón de pasos), technically demanding works for whistle and plastic instruments (...

Article

Hans-Gunnar Peterson

(b Lidköping, July 24, 1953). Swedish composer. He studied at the Göteborg Conservatory from 1978 after having worked as a photographer. He also studied with Bodin and Rune Lindblad. Since 1987 he has been teaching computer music and composition at the Göteborg Conservatory; he also teaches at the Lindbladstudio of the University of Göteborg.

Parmerud has written instrumental and multimedia music, but it is above all his electro-acoustic music that has attracted attention and won prizes. He often combines tapes with instruments and also with voices. Examples include Remain, for orchestra and tape, Alias based on vocal sounds and quotations from Dowland and Gesualdo, and Retur, for saxophone quartet and tape. He occasionally collaborates with other composers, such as Anders Blomqvist, with whom he wrote the music for a two-hour documentary on Greta Garbo. This work gave rise to Strings & Shadows, in which the sounds of the harp are transformed....

Article

Victoria Eli Rodríguez

(Manuel)

(b Havana, Jan 18, 1949). Cuban composer and pianist. He studied the piano with César Pérez Sentenat, Silvio Rodríguez Cárdenas, Margot Rojas and Ninowska Fernández-Britto, and composition with Enrique Bellver. When the Instituto Superior de Arte was established (1976) he studied composition with Ardévol, as his last pupil. He has won numerous prizes for composition, the most outstanding of which include La Edad de Oro, for music for children, the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba awards for both symphonic and electro-acoustic music, the 12th International Electro-acoustic Music Competition in Bourges (France) in 1984, and the 3rd TRIMALACA in Rio de Janeiro (1985). As the composer himself affirms, his music can be both profoundly lyrical and an obvious joke at the expense of conventionality. His earliest composition, La ‘cosa’ no está en el título for piano (1972–3), is in sonata form and exploits the rich effects produced by the pianistic treatment of avant-garde concepts. His songs are based on complex poetic texts, especially the work of poets such as José Martí, Mirta Aguirre, Nicolás Guillén, Humberto Arenal, and Virgilio Piñera. Associated with theatre music from an early age, his pieces have included reworkings of music originally from zarzuelas or musical comedies to create highly contemporary versions for original productions (...

Article

Jorge Luis Acevedo Vargas

(b San José, Jan 5, 1964). Costa Rican composer. From an early age he followed the general music course at the University of Costa Rica. He took a degree in music at the same institution, with special emphasis in composition, taught by Gutierrez Sáenz, Zeller Flores and Herra Rodríguez. In 1984 he took part in the seminar on composition and electro-acoustic music given in San José by Steiger. He also studied conducting with Agustín Cullell and Herra. He has worked as a teacher with the youth programme of the National SO and at the School of Musical Arts of the University of Costa Rica.

He is a founder member and secretary of the Centre for Contemporary Music in San José. In 1988 he obtained the Aquileo J. Echevarría National Music Prize for his Brass Quintet. He was invited to participate in the Second and Sixth Caribbean Composers’ Forums, held in Costa Rica. His works include a number of chamber pieces, band music and symphonic works; he has also composed music for theatrical productions. In April of ...

Article

Bruno Giner

revised by Élise Petit

(b Strasbourg, July 19, 1936). French composer. After training as a scientist and pursuing his musical studies in Lille and Paris with Olivier Messiaen and Serge Nigg, he became a member of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (Ina-GRM) from 1963 to 1983. He helped with the writing of Pierre Schaeffer’s Traité des objets musicaux, and did research into the perception of pitch and duration. At the same time, he taught electro-acoustic music with Pierre Schaeffer at the Paris Conservatoire and composition (until 2001), and worked on the incorporation of new technologies into composition. He has been the moving spirit behind many radio broadcasts concerning contemporary music at France Musique and France Culture. He founded the Atelier des Choeurs de Radio France in 1976, and from 1986 to 1990 he directed the Groupe Vocal de France, with which he has given first performances or broadcasts of over a hundred contemporary vocal works. He was the musical adviser to the Cité de la Musique at La Villette (...

Article

John Young

(Francis)

(b Auckland, Feb 5, 1939). New Zealand composer. His initial training in composition was with Tremain at the University of Auckland, where he also did postgraduate work in musicology. An interest in electro-acoustic music in the mid-1960s led him to study in Toronto under Weinzweig and Gustav Ciamaga. In 1974 he joined the staff of the University of Auckland, founding the electro-acoustic music studio there. His compositions include instrumental, vocal, theatrical and electro-acoustic works, with some emphasis on pieces mixing instrumental or vocal forces with electro-acoustic sounds, as in the Composition series of ten such works. A powerful influence of the natural environment can be found in much of his work, including the ‘modelling’ of specific natural events, such as the build-up and dissipation of energy in a breaking wave in his Viola Concerto, Seaswell, for trumpet and tape, Your Piano is my Forte for piano and orchestra, and the electro-acoustic ...

Article

Wolfgang Kos

(b Berlin, Oct 26, 1934). German electronic musician and composer, active in Austria. He has described himself as a painter or poet in sound, and does not regard himself as a traditional composer. He first experimented with spontaneous composition in Berlin during the late 1960s. After co-founding the Zodiac artistic laboratory, he formed the Kluster group (1969) with artist Konrad Schnitzler, a student of Joseph Beuys, and graphic artist Dieter Moebius. The ensemble avoided traditional instruments and improvised with noises and chance sounds. After 1971 Roedelius and Moebius performed as the duo Cluster, conceiving works that organized delicate sounds, created with the aid of sound generators, rhythm machines, electronic organs and special effects, into sweeping ‘soundscapes’. The result was electronic mood music with strong natural echoes. After 1978 Roedelius worked primarily under his own name. With the support of the Alban Berg foundation he founded a small studio in the south of Vienna, where he worked in seclusion. During the 1980s his output was dominated by piano fantasias consisting of simple rippling melodies; he later wrote ballet music and songs. In ...

Article

Victoria Eli Rodríguez

(b Havana, Dec 27, 1951). Cuban composer and teacher. He studied in Havana under Roberto Valera, began composing in the 1970s and graduated in composition from the Instituto Superior de Arte in 1983. He was a member of various instrumental groups and in 1978 became a musical consultant to Cuban television, with special responsibility for children’s programmes. From 1980 he taught at the National School of Arts and the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory, Havana. In 1984 he became a record producer for the Cuban company EGREM, specializing in classical music. The première of Masa (1974) marked the start of his composing career. In 1984 he joined the Estudio Electroacústico, now the Laboratorio Nacional de Música Electroacústica (LMNE) under the direction of Juan Blanco, and in 1984 won an award at the first international electro-acoustic music competition in Bourges, France, for Halley 86. In 1987 he won awards at competitions in Canada and Mexico for ...