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Gavin Borchert

(b Kane, PA, Feb 25, 1938; d Rhinebeck, NY, Oct 22, 2009). American composer, performer and multimedia artist. She studied composition with Rochberg at the University of Pennsylvania (BFA 1964) and with Stockhausen. A concern for physical space pervades her music, best exemplified by three ongoing multimedia installation projects. In City Links #1-22 (1967–), she transmits sounds picked up by microphones placed throughout a city to mixing facilities at a central location. The resulting sound collages are broadcast at ‘live’ performances or over the radio. Locations for this project have included Boston, Chicago, New York and, in the Netherlands, Groningen. In Music for Sound-Joined Rooms (1980–), careful loudspeaker placement within a multi-room space creates ‘structure-borne’ sound that travels through walls and floors rather than through air. As the listener walks through a site, he or she experiences multiple sonic viewpoints arranged by Amacher to produce dramatic or narrative effects. The result is electronic music theatre designed according to the architectural features of a particular building. In ...

Article

Mark Hoffman

(b Hanau, June 20, 1839; d Hanau, Jan 13, 1900). German acoustician, son of Georg Appunn. At the Leipzig Conservatory he continued the acoustical experiments of his father, especially the determination of vibration ratios of very high tones by optical means, and constructed fine acoustic apparatus. He devised a new shape for the glockenspiel, with right-angled metal rods in a circular arrangement and a metal half-sphere above as a resonator....

Article

(b Hanau, Sept 1, 1816; d Hanau, Jan 14, 1888). German musical theorist and acoustician. He studied theory with Anton André and Schnyder von Wartensee, the piano with Suppus and Alois Schmitt, the organ with Rinck and the cello with Mangold. He became a well-rounded musician who could play almost every instrument. Until ...

Article

Carmen Helena Téllez

revised by Juan Orrego-Salas

(b Santiago, July 20, 1933). Chilean composer and electro-acoustic engineer. He studied at the National Conservatory in Santiago with Urrutia-Blondel (1947–56), at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik with Blacher (1959–60) and at the Badische Hochschule für Musik with Wildberger. Simultaneously he studied engineering at the Catholic University in Santiago (1953–9). As part of his dissertation, in 1959 he assembled the first electro-acoustic music laboratory in Latin America, and composed the region’s first electronic composition, Variaciones espectrales.

Asuar was the Chilean delegate to the 1960 ISCM Festival in Cologne. In 1962 he directed a seminar of electro-acoustic music in Salvador, Brazil. He was Professor of Acoustics and Contemporary Music at the National Conservatory in Santiago (1963–5). In 1964 he taught a seminar in electronic music at the di Tella Institute in Buenos Aires. From 1965 to 1968, at the invitation of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes of Venezuela, he established and directed the Instituto de Fonología, the country’s first electro-acoustic music centre....

Article

Murray Campbell

(Graham)

(b Portland, OR, April 29, 1911; d Los Angeles, Oct 28, 1988). American acoustician. After studying at Reed College, Portland (BA 1932), he undertook postgraduate study at the University of California in Berkeley (MA 1936, PhD 1940). His early research work was in nuclear physics, working under the supervision of Ernest Lawrence in the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. In 1945 he was appointed professor of physics at the University of Southern California, and he continued in that post until his retirement in 1980. An accomplished performer on the piano and the bassoon, Backus was awarded the degree of MMus in conducting by the University of Southern California in 1959. In the later stages of his research career he made major contributions to the study of the acoustics of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and organ pipes. In 1969 the first edition of The Acoustical Foundations of Music...

Article

Jon Newsom

(b Chambersburg, PA, March 31, 1897; d Homestead, PA, Jan 4, 1970). American acoustician, musicologist and composer. He taught himself the piano and the organ and studied at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania (1914–18); after graduating he worked as organist and mathematics teacher at the Haverford School in Pennsylvania (1919–21, 1922–6) while continuing his studies at Dickinson College (MA 1920) and Temple University (MusB 1924). He subsequently taught music theory as assistant professor at Wells College, New York (1926–9), leaving with a fellowship to the universities of Cologne and Berlin. After studies at Cornell University under Kinkeldey (1931–2) he gained the doctorate in 1932 with a dissertation on the history of equal temperament from Ramis de Pareia to Rameau. He taught at Ithaca College, New York (1932–9), while working for the MusD of the University of Toronto (...

Article

R.W.B. Stephens

revised by Clive Greated

(b Budapest, June 3, 1899; d Cambridge, MA, June 13, 1972). Hungarian acoustician. He studied at the universities of Berne and Budapest, where he took the PhD (1923). He taught at the University of Budapest until 1947, and was engaged in research with the Hungarian telephone service concerning the mechanical behaviour of the ear, work which led to a revision of the theory of hearing. He later worked on physiological acoustics at Harvard University, and is the only acoustician to have obtained a Nobel Prize. Békésy studied the acoustics of the ear, sometimes by direct microscopic observation through tiny holes bored into the bony wall of the cochlea. He made fundamental discoveries about the operation of the inner ear and the way in which it responds to complex sounds; these discoveries are described with great lucidity in his book Experiments in Hearing (New York, 1960)....

Article

David J. Hough

[Geddes, Norman ]

(b Adrian, MI, April 27, 1893; d New York, May 8, 1958). American stage designer. He studied briefly at the Cleveland School of Art, but had no formal education after the age of 16. His first wife, Helen Belle Sneider, became his collaborator, and ‘Norman-Bel-Geddes’ was their nom de plume for articles on art and the theatre, until their divorce in 1932. Notable designs for Montemezzi’s La nave for Chicago Opera (1919) and Henry Hadley’s Cleopatra’s Night for the Metropolitan (1920) attracted Broadway attention, and his innovative approach was soon recognized. At an early stage of his career he discarded the proscenium arch and planned open-stage projects. For a commission in 1924 to design Vollmöller’s morality play The Miracle with Humperdinck’s music for Max Reinhardt, he converted the theatre into a Gothic cathedral. His work for Broadway included Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road (...

Article

Murray Campbell

(Henry)

(b Chicago, Jan 2, 1925; d Cleveland, Aug 4, 1987). American acoustician. His parents being missionaries, he spent much of his childhood in Lahore. After returning to the USA to study at Washington University, St Louis (AB 1948, PhD 1952), Benade was appointed in 1952 to the physics faculty at Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, which later became Case Western Reserve University. Promoted to a full professorship in 1969, he continued in that post until shortly before his death. A skilled woodwind player, he had an exceptional ability to relate the results of acoustical research to the practical requirements of musicians and musical instrument makers. Benade established a research programme which made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of the operation of wind instruments. Also active in string instrument research, he was a founding member of the Catgut Acoustical Society and its president between 1969 and 1972...

Article

Murray Campbell

(Leroy)

(b Solon, IA, Sept 15, 1914). American acoustician. He gained his BS after studying at Cornell College, Iowa, and subsequently gained his doctorate under the supervision of F.V. Hunt. During the Second World War Beranek worked in the Cruft Acoustics Laboratory at Harvard University and later at the MIT. In 1948 he founded a company of acoustics consultants (Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc.) which quickly established an international reputation. Before writing his seminal book, Music, Acoustics and Architecture (1962), he travelled through 20 countries, listening and making measurements in many halls and consulting many acousticians. This preparation preceded the final designing of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, for which he and his firm held the acoustic consultancy. Beranek has been responsible for the acoustical design of many major concert halls, and through his writings has contributed greatly to the dissemination of good practice in the design and construction of buildings intended for musical use. He was president of the Acoustical Society of America (...