Adamis, Michael

(1929-2013) Greek composer. Born in Piraieus, Greece, on May 19, 1929. A graduate in theology at the University of Athens, he completed his studies in both Western (composition with Y.A. Papaioannou) and Byzantine music, and pursued advanced studies in Composition, Electroacoustic music, and Byzantine music paleography at Brandeis University. Founded the Athens Chamber Choir in 1958. He was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens in 2004. 

Behrman, David

(b. 1937) American composer. He studied at Harvard University (BA 1959) and Columbia University (MA 1963). In 1966 he formed the Sonic Arts Union with Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, and Gordon Mumma, a group that performed live electronic works throughout North America and Europe until 1976. During the late 1960s, he produced "Music of Our Time" for Columbia Masterworks, a series featuring music by John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Henri Pousseur, and others. He has served as co-director of the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College (1975–80), and taught at Ohio State University, Rutgers University, and the California Institute of the Arts. In the 1980s he designed educational music software as a consultant for Children’s Television Workshop. He has been a member of the faculty at the Avery Graduate Program in the Arts at Bard College since 1998.

Berio, Luciano

(1925-2003) Italian composer. Studied composition at the Milan Conservatory until 1951. In 1955, he and fellow composer Bruno Maderna founded Italy's first electronic music studio. Founded the Juilliard Ensemble in 1968, which promoted the performance of contemporary music. He was influenced by serialism, electronic devices, and indeterminacy. Berio developed the "collage" technique, borrowing extracts from other composers or imitating stylistic characteristics. Examples are Sinfonia, in which Berio quotes material from Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Wagner's Das Rheingold, Ravel's La Valse, and Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier; and Laborintus II, in which street cries and interjections are blended with references to madrigals and to jazz. In 1986 and 1987 he transcribed 11 of Mahler's early songs for male voice and orchestra. From 2000 he was president of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome where, under his supervision, the new Auditorium Parco della Musica was inaugurated in 2002.

Boucourechliev, André

(1925-1997) French composer and musicologist of Bulgarian birth. In 1946 he entered the Sofia Conservatory to study piano with Panka Pelischek and Andreï Stoïanov. He moved to Paris in 1949, where he studied at the Ecole Normale de Musique with Reine Gianoli (piano) and Georges Dandelot (harmony). Boucourechliev's first work to attract attention was Musique à trois (1957). During a 6-month spell in the USA (1963–1964), Boucourechliev became acquainted with the work of American avant-garde figures such as Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Earle Brown.

Bussotti, Sylvano

(b. 1931) Italian composer. Born into a family of artists (notably his brother Renzo, and his uncle Tono Zancanaro), he began to take violin lessons at the age of five. He studied harmony and counterpoint at the Florence Conservatory, where he also attended Dallapiccola's courses on the piano (which were generally more concerned with philosophical and cultural discussion than with instrumental technique). His intense affection for French culture was reinforced by his studies in Paris, where from 1956 to 1958 he attended Deutsch's private courses and encountered Boulez. Throughout the earlier 1950s, he produced a number of youthful works, including several marionette shows. They remain unpublished, though several have been revisited by the composer in more recent years.

Cage, John

(1912-1992) American composer. One of the leading figures of the postwar avant-garde. After studying with Arnold Schoenberg and Adolph Weiss in the 1930s, he moved on to his own compositions, heavily influenced by the work of Edgar Varèse. By his twenties he was a leading exponent of the musique concrète movement that combined electronics with traditional sounds and eventually led to the development of the synthesizer. His "utilized sounds" included doors slamming, water pouring, and radio static, and he is credited with the invention of the prepared piano technique, wherein the piano has everyday objects lodged inside the instrument in order to produce unusual sounds when played. He studied Zen Buddhism in the Far East during the 1950s and used the principles of the I Ching (Book Of Changes) to develop his own brand of experimental music. Far and away his most famous piece of music is "4'33"", which consists of complete silence (barring natural environmental sounds). The performer, usually a pianist, is expected to show the audience which of the piece’s four movements he is "performing" by the use of his fingers, as if a composer. Cage encouraged performers to add their own artistic input to the composition. He remained one of the biggest influences on many of the electronic and industrial exponents of the 1970s and 1980s, from the Grateful Dead to the Pet Shop Boys. The influence of his compositions, writings, and personality has been felt by a wide range of composers around the world. He had a greater impact on music in the 20th century than any other American composer.

Davidovsky, Mario

(b. 1934) American composer of Argentine birth. He studied the violin as a child and began to compose at the age of 13. Subsequently he studied composition, theory and history in Buenos Aires, where his principal teacher was Graetzer. In 1958 he studied at the Berkshire Music Center with Copland and met there Babbitt, who encouraged him to move to New York to work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. He has taught at the University of Michigan (1964), the Instituto Torcuato di Tella of Buenos Aires (1965), the Manhattan School (1968–9), Yale University (1969–70) and City College, CUNY (1968–80). His association with Columbia University began in 1960 with his appointment as associate director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and ended with his tenure as professor of music (1981–93). In 1993 he joined the staff at Harvard University. He has been the recipient of almost every major award in the USA, including the Koussevitzky fellowship (1958), two Rockefeller fellowships (1963, 1964), two Guggenheim fellowships (1960, 1971) and a Pulitzer Prize (1971).

Davidson, Lyle

(b. 1938) American composer and musicologist. He studied at New England Conservatory and Brandeis. He is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory where he teaches Solfege, 16th-century Counterpoint, and Music in Education courses. He conducts research in music and cognition, pedagogy, and assessment; and is a founding member of the Conservatory Laboratory Charter School. As Director of Research at the Lincoln Center Institute in New York, he worked on arts intensification in public schools. For 15 years he was on staff at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, where he directed the music group in several studies spanning early childhood and adult development, portfolio assessment, and learning in the arts.

Epstein, Paul

(b. 1938) American composer born in Boston. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of California at Berkeley. His composition teachers included Harold Shapero, Seymour Shifrin, and Luciano Berio, with whom he studied privately on a Fulbright grant to Italy in 1962-63. Epstein has been involved in closely collaborative work with artists in theater and dance. He was associated with the New York environmental theater group The Performance Group from 1969 to 1972, and from 1974 to 1987 he was composer and music director for ZeroMoving Dance Company of Philadelphia.

Falck, Robert

(b. 1937) Received his BMus from the New England Conservatory. Received MFA and PhD from Brandeis University. Early in his career he published articles, books and dictionary/encyclopedia articles in the field of medieval music, focusing on polyphonic and monophonic music of the 12th and 13th centuries. In more recent years his research and publication interest shifted to the twentieth century, and he produced a number of published and some unpublished papers especially on Arnold Schoenberg, but also on Alban Berg, Anton Webern and Stefan Wolpe. Spent more than thirty years at the Univeristy of Toronto as a music professor.

Gnazzo, Anthony J

(b. 1936) American composer. Studied music theory and mathematics at the University of Hartford; then worked under Krenek, Berger, and Shapiro at Brandeis (MFA, 1969). He directed the Tape Music Center at Mills College and worked in association with other electronic music studios at Stanford, Berkeley, University of York, and University of California at Haywood. He has written "text-sound" pieces to read or look at (Hisnia and Hernia); mathematically constructed works (Prime Source 1-23); and mixed-media performance pieces (Lontano). Other works include dance scores, film and TV music, incidental music, environmental works, instrumental music, electronic and computer-generated music and choral and solo vocal music. 

Hughes, Phil
Ivey, Jean Eichelberger

(1923-2010) American composer and pianist. She studied at Trinity College (BA 1944), the Peabody Conservatory (MM in piano, 1946), the Eastman School (MM in composition, 1956) and the University of Toronto (DMus in composition, 1972). In 1967 she founded the electronic music studio at Peabody, and from 1982 until her retirement in 1997 she coordinated its composition department. Ivey summarized her compositional ideals at the 30th anniversary of computer music at Peabody: ‘I consider all the musical resources of the past and present as being at the composer’s disposal, but always in the service of the effective communication of humanistic ideas and intuitive emotion’. Her early music was tonal and neo-classical, drawing particularly on the styles of Bartók and Ravel; in the 1960s she began to incorporate serial and electronic elements, which gave her music greater fluidity. She was especially fond of writing for the voice in combination with orchestra, ensemble, piano or tape. Her first electroacoustic work, "Pinball", was created at Brandeis in 1965. She wrote many articles on music and was herself the main subject of the WRC-TV documentary A Woman is … a Composer.

Krenek, Ernst

(1900-1991) Austrian composer and writer. Studied under Franz Schreker in 1916. At the beginning of 1922 Krenek met Anna Mahler, the daughter of Gustav Mahler. Their relationship, providing him with an entrée into the Mahler circle, resulted in Franz Werfel’s reworking of the libretto of Die Zwingburg and Alma Mahler’s introduction to Alban Berg. Anna also asked Krenek to complete Mahler’s Tenth Symphony; he edited the first and third movements of the work, but felt the remainder to be too undeveloped to justify completion artistically. The couple’s marriage in 1924 lasted less than a year. Krenek emigrated to America, where he became a naturalized citizen. He taught at the Malkin Conservatory, Boston (1938–9), the University of Michigan summer school (1939), where his students included George Perle and Robert Erickson, and Vassar College (1939–42). In 1948 he settled near Los Angeles, devoting his time to composing and lecture tours.

Laske, Otto

(b. 1936) Polish composer and musicologist. His artistic pursuits have included electronic music, poetry, and more recently work with digital images. His first composition teacher was Konrad Lechner who taught him micro-counterpoint. In 1966, Laske went to New England Conservatory of Music in Boston to continue his academics in music theory; however, his main concern was to learn more about computer music (his most critical period for computer music occurred between 1970-75).

Lerman, Richard

(b. 1944) American composer. He studied at Brandeis University (BA 1966, MFA film/theatre arts 1970) with Shapero, Lucier and others. He has taught at the Boston Museum School (1973–95) and Arizona State University West (from 1994). His compositions develop unexpected textures from natural phenomena and materials, collected with his own specially constructed microphones and transducers. Later works involve computer and MIDI techniques. Lerman's honours include fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Lucier, Alvin

(b. 1931) American composer. He was educated at Yale (BA 1954) and Brandeis (MFA 1960) universities, where his teachers included Boatwright, Arthur Berger, Irving Fine, and Shapiro; he also studied under Copland and Foss at the Berkshire Music Center (1958, 1959). After two years in Rome on a Fulbright fellowship, Lucier joined the Brandeis faculty in 1963 as director of the choral union; later he was head of the electronic music studio. In 1970 he moved to Wesleyan University, where he was later appointed John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. He was a co-founder of the Sonic Arts Union, music director of the Viola Farber Dance Company (1972–7) and a fellow of the DAAD Kunstlerprogramm in Berlin (1990). In the mid-1960s Lucier began to explore sonic environments, particularly sounds that ‘would never – in ordinary circumstances – reach our ears’. Using performers, electronics, instruments, architecture and found objects, he devises open-ended processes specifically adapted to the phenomena he chooses to investigate or reveal. Some works exploit unusual sound sources such as brain waves (Music for Solo Performer) or radio frequency emissions in the ionosphere (Sferics), while others focus on the physical characteristics of sound waves.

Maderna, Bruno

(1920-1973) Italian composer and conductor. Studied at the Milan Conservatory, Siena Academy, and S. Cecilia Academy, Rome (until 1940 ). With Luciano Berio, he founded the electornic music studio of Italian Radio at Milan in 1955 , later becoming music director at Milan Radio. Maderna’s stylistic devices, original and often distinct from those of such contemporaries as Berio, Boulez, Stockhausen and Nono, include his characteristic use of deterministic precompositional techniques, his own interpretation of the ‘open work’ concept and the melodic thread which remains perceptible in even the most complex textures.

Rzewski, Frederic

(b. 1938) American composer and pianist. He studied with Randall Thompson (counterpoint) and Walter Piston (orchestration) at Harvard University (BA 1958) and with Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt at Princeton University (MFA 1960), where he also attended courses in philosophy and Greek. In 1960–61 he studied with Dallapiccola in Florence on a Fulbright scholarship. Throughout most of the 1960s he was active as a pianist and teacher in Europe; he took part in the first performances of Stockhausen’s Klavierstück X (1962) and Plus Minus (1964), and taught at the Kölner Kurse für Neue Musik (1963, 1964 and 1970). He returned to New York in 1971 but from 1976 he has divided his time between Rome and Liège, where he became professor of composition at the Conservatoire Royal in 1977; in 1984 he was visiting professor of composition at Yale University. He has also taught at the universities of Cincinnati, SUNY, Buffalo, California (San Diego), the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Berlin Hochschule der Künste. Rzewski explored collective improvisation. This led to the socialist-political concerns expressed in such works as Coming Together and Attica, composed in 1972 to the text of a letter from an inmate of Attica (New York) State Prison, and to works combining elements from both written and improvised music (Les moutons de Panurge). He went on to explore folk and popular melodies in settings that are sometimes unambiguously tonal and often display exceptional virtuosity.

Saperstein, David

(b. 1948) Born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island and in New Jersey. His first formal studies in Musical Composition were with Jacob Druckman at the Juilliard Pre-College Division. He continued his musical studies at Princeton University, where he was a student of Milton Babbitt, and at Brandeis University, with Martin Boykan. One of the youngest winners of the BMI Awards to Student Composers, and is a twelve-time winner of the ASCAPlus Award. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Musical Composition and was an Associate Fellow at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.

Stockhausen, Karlheinz

(1928-2007) German composer. The leading German composer of his generation, he was a seminal figure of the post-1945 avant garde. A tireless innovator and influential teacher, he largely redefined notions of serial composition, and was a pioneer in electronic music. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory (1947–51) with Hans Otto Schmidt-Neuhaus for piano, Hermann Schroeder for harmony and counterpoint, and Frank Martin for composition. In 1951 he attended the Darmstadt summer courses. In 1952 he went to Paris, where he studied with Messiaen and worked in Pierre Schaeffer's musique concrète studio. He then returned to Cologne.

Wolff, Christian

(b. 1934) American composer of French birth. He moved to the USA in 1941 and became associated with Cage, Earle Brown and Feldman in New York in the early 1950s. Almost entirely self-taught as a composer, he studied classics at Harvard (BA, PhD), remaining there as a teacher until 1970, when he was appointed professor of classics and music at Dartmouth College. He became Strauss Professor of Music at Dartmouth in 1979. Wolff’s honours include an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and several commissions, notably those from West German Radio, the Concord String Quartet, the Wesleyan Singers and Ursula Oppens.

Yannay, Yehuda

(b. 1937) Israeli-American composer of Romanian birth. He emigrated to Israel in 1951 where he studied with Boskovitch (1959–64). Soon considered one of Israel's leading avant-garde composers, a Fulbright Fellowship enabled him to pursue further studies at Brandeis University (MFA 1966), where his teachers included Arthur Berger and Ernst Krenek, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (DMA 1974) where he studied with Salvatore Martirano, among others. His doctoral dissertation on the music of Ligeti and Varèse proved influential to his later compositional style. In 1970 he joined the composition department at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and in 1971 founded the Music from Almost Yesterday concert series, dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. His compositions favour a postmodern synthesis of elements of 20th-century modernism and a concern for the ‘here and now’.


Biographical Sources

Grove Music Online,,,,,,,, The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music,,,