Photo: Susan SanGiovanni
TOM HAMILTON has composed and performed electronic music for over 50 years. His ongoing series of concerts, installations and recordings contrast structure with improvisation and textural electronics with acoustic instruments. He is a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Hamilton makes “aural scores” to connect performers to a changing context of electronic sound. Rather than addressing traditional modes of expression, presentation and observation, Hamilton often explores the interaction of many simultaneous layers of activity, prompting the use of “present-time listening” on the part of both performer and listener.
Hamilton’s work has most notably developed in forms that lie outside the traditional concert format. Morelos Sin Termino (1980), commissioned by the St. Louis Art Museum, employed a system of kaleidoscopically changing sounds to create a self-composing installation. Continuing this direction has resulted in another half-dozen sound environments. Off-Hour Wait State (1995), Hamilton’s exploration of the NY subway system, altered the function of the pure sound environment, and was created as an aural score for a changing cast of performers. Over a hundred presentations of this piece throughout the world, as well as a CD, make this Hamilton’s best-known work to date. His installation London Fix (2003) followed the price fluctuations of the spot gold market over the course of one year, generating a continuous flow of electronic sound, and was awarded an honorary mention in the 2004 Prix Ars Electronica. City of Vorticity (2014) offered a kaleidoscopically changing environment, to provide an aural context for soloists in both concert and sound installations.
Hamilton is currently serving as the music director for two operas by (the late) composer Robert Ashley, and has been a member of that company for 30 years. His audio production can be found in over 100 CD releases of new and experimental music, including recordings by Muhal Richard Abrams, Bruce Arnold, David Behrman, Thomas Buckner, Bernard Hoffer, George Lewis, Annea Lockwood, Alvin Lucier, Roscoe Mitchell, Phill Niblock, and “Blue” Gene Tyranny.
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