Photo by Ralph Norman
Robert Ashley was born on March 28, 1930 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received a Mus. B. in Music Theory from the University of Michigan in 1952 and a Mus.B. in Piano and Composition from the Manhattan School of Music in 1954. From 1957 to 1960 he did further work in Acoustics and Composition at the University of Michigan.
From 1958 to 1966 he operated the Cooperative Studio for Electronic music in Ann Arbor with Gordon Mumma, with whom he toured in the program “Music for Two Pianos." From 1961 to 1968 he was Co-organizer of the annual ONCE Festival in Ann Arbor and was Coordinator of the ONCE Group from 1963 to 1969. He has collaborated with the painter-sculptor Milton Cohen on the design and performance of his Space Theatre productions and has produced soundtracks for several prize-winning films of George Manupelli. In 1966 he co-founded the Sonic Arts Union with David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, and Gordon Mumma. Since 1969 he has been Co-director of the Center for Contemporary Music and Director of the Electronic Music Studios at Mills College.
Ashley's work is concerned with enlarging the resources available to the composer by means of electronic technology and elements of theatre. Principal works include Trios (White on White), for various instruments (1963); Kittyhawk (an Antigravity Piece), electronic music theatre (1964); That Morning Thing, electronic music theatre (1967); Illusion Models, hypothetical computer tasks (1970); String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies, for string quartet and electronic modifications (1972); and In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women, text by John Barton Wolgamot, (1972).
In addition, the following works are available on records: Untitled Mixes (1965) and The Wolfman (1964), for voice and tape, "Explosions," Bob James Trio, ESP 1009; in memoriam … Crazy Horse (symphony), Music from the ONCE Festival,'' Advance Recordings FGR-5; She Was A Visitor, for chorus (1967), "Extended Voices" CBS Odyssey 32 16 0158 and “Music of Our Time Series S 34-61066; The Wolfman (1964), Source Record No.4;and Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon (1968), for female speaker, singers and bells, Sonic Arts Union, Mainstream MS/5010.
Photo by Ralph Norman
David Behrman was born on August 16th, 1937 in Salzburg, Austria. He studied composition with Wal1ingford Riegger in New York and with Walter Piston at Harvard, where he received a B.A. in 1959 and won the Paine Travelling Fellowship. He worked at the Studio de Musique Electronique in Brussels with Henri Pousseur and studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen at Darmstadt. In 1963 he received an M.A. in Music Theory from Columbia.
From 1965 to 1970 he worked for Columbia Records where he produced a series of new music recordings, including works by Ashley, Babbitt, Cage, Feldman, Ichiyanagi, Kagel, Maxfield, Neuhaus, Oliveros, Reich, Riley and Wolff. In 1966 he co founded the Sonic Arts Union with Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma. He has been a. musician for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, for whom he has completed several commissions, and has served as Artistic and Technical. Coordinator for the Intermedia Institute at Automation House, New York. In 1968 he was appointed Creative Associate in Composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo and was Guest Lecturer at Ohio State in the Spring of 1972. He has written several artic1es on new music and has co11aborated in performances with John Cage, Gordon Mumma and David Tudor, including Reunion (1968) with Marcel Duchamp, Second Week of November; Second Week of July (1970), and Communication in Noisy Environment (1972) with Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Gordon Mumma and Bob Watts.
Since 1963, Behrman has devoted himse1f to the study of e1ectronic circuitry resulting in specia11y built configurations designed for specific works, inc1uding P1ayers with Circuits (1966), for four p1ayers and e1ectronics; Questions from the F1oor (1968), a po1yphonic voca1 work with two speakers and four channels of tape; Sinescreen (1970), for four performers, who, by means of frequency-modu1ation, amplitude-modulation, filtering, mixing and routing devices, determine the sound characteristics and placement of interacting sine and pu1se wave forms; Is1ands in the River of Experience (1970-71), with Katharine Morton, for four performers with tape, slides, lights and projection screen in the form of a 1ectern; and Pools of Phase Locked Loops (1972), also with Katharine Morton, for two performers and electronics.
Available on records: Wave Train (1966), Source Record No.3;Runthrough (1967), Mainstream /5010.
Photo by Ralph Norman
Alvin Lucier was born on May 14, 1931, in Nashua, New Hampshire. He studied music with David Kra.ehenbuhel and Quincy Porter at Yale and Arthur Berger and Harold Shapero at Brandeis. He spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship where he studied with Boris Porena and met Frederic Rzewski with whom he drove to Darmstadt to sit in on David Tudor's piano class. In 1962 he was appointed to the faculty of Brandeis University as Director of the Choral Union and Chamber Chorus which, under his direction, devoted much of its time to the performance of new music. Since 1970 he has been at Wesleyan University as Director of its Electronic and Computer Music Studio.
He has lectured and performed extensively in the United States and Europe, and in 1966 co-founded the Sonic Arts Union with composer-performers Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma. He has made several soundtracks for filmmaker Takahiko Iimura, has collaborated with realsculptor Mary Lucier and has composed a great deal of theatre music including scores for the Broadway production of John Roc's Fire! and the American Shakespeare Festival production of Henry V.
Lucier's work, using pre-existing electronic technology, often refers to natural environmental systems. Recent works include Music for Solo Performer (1965), enormously amplified brain-waves used to resonate percussion instruments; Chambers (1968), moving large and small resonant environments; Quasimodo Great Lover (1970), long distance sound transmission; The Duke of York (1971), alteration of vocal identities; Gentle Fire (1971), transformation of ambient sound events by means of synthesizers; The Queen of the South (1972), making visual images with sound in vibrating media; and Room Simulation l, The Bird of Bremen Flies Through the Houses of The Burghers (1972), a computer-controlled sound environment.
In addition, North American Time Capsule (1967), for voices and vocoder, is available on CBS Odyssey 32 16 0258 and Music of Our Time Series S 34-60166 Records; Vespers (1968), acoustic orientation by means of echolocation, Mainstream MS/5010; and I am sitting in a room (1970), articulation of the resonant frequencies of a room by speech, Source Record No. 5.
Photo by Ralph Norman
Gordon Mumma was born on March 30th, 1935 in Framingham, Massachusetts. With Robert Ashley, he co-founded the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music in Ann .Arbor, Michigan in 1958, and was Co-director of the ONCE Festival. and ONCE Group from 1960 to 1963. He was Research Associate in Acoustics and Seismics at the Institute of Science and Technology in Ann Arbor, 1962-63; Consulting Artist and Engineer for Experiments in Art and Technology, New York, for whom he designed the sound modifier console for the Pepsi Cola Pavilion at Expo '70 Osaka, Japan; and Technical. Director at the Intermedia Institute, Automation House, New York, 1970. Since 1966 he has been a composer and performing musician with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the Sonic Arts Union with whom he has toured extensively in the United States and Europe. He has been Lecturer in Music at Brandeis University, the State University Col1ege of New York at Buffa1o, the University of Illinois, the Universities of Ca1ifopnia at Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Dartmouth College and the Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik at Darmstadt. He has written numerous articl.es on music, electronic technology, and dance, including 11 Merce Cunningham" for Collier's Encyclopedia and the comprehensive survey "Live-Electronic Music" for the book The Development Practice of Electronic Music being published by Prentice-Hall in 1974.
Mumma is a pioneer designer of electronic circuitry for musical. purposes. Many of his works are excellent examples of live performance, often with conventional. musical. instruments, and personally designed processing equipment. Principle works include Megaton, for William Burroughs (1963), performed e1ectronic music for ten electronic, acoustical and communications channels; Medium Size Mograph (1963), for cybersonic piano with two performers; Beam (1969, for violin, viola, cybersonic modification and digital control circuitry; Conspiracy 8 (1970), for digita1 computer with up to eight performers (with Steven Smoliar); and Ambivex (1972), surrogate myoelectrical telemetering system with pairs of performing appendages.
The following works are also available on records: Peasant Boy (with the Bob James Trio), ESP 1009; Music from the Venezia Space Theater (1964), Advance Recordings FGR-5; The Dresden Interleaf 13 February 1945, JME-1; (1965), Horn (1965), for French horn and cybersonic console, Aspen-4; Mesa (1966), for cybersonic bandoneon, CBS Odyssey 32 16 0158 and CBS France S-34 61-065; and Hornpipe (1967), for cybersonic French horn, Mainstream MS/5010.