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David Rosenboom

DAVID ROSENBOOM (b. 1947) has been widely acclaimed as a pioneer in American experimental music since the 1960's. He is a composer, performer, conductor, interdisciplinary artist, author, educator, has explored ideas in his work about the spontaneous evolution of forms, languages for improvisation, new techniques and notation for ensembles, cross-cultural collaborations, performance art, computer music systems, interactive multi-media, compositional algorithms, and the structure of the brain and nervous system. He has composed extensively for both instrumental and technological media and plays piano, violin, viola, percussion, trumpet, and live, electronic systems.

Prior to assuming his current positions in 1990 as Dean of the School of Music, Co-director of the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology and Conductor of the New Century Players at the California Institute of the Arts, Rosenboom was the Darius Milhaud Professor of Music at Mills College, where he was also Head of the Music Department and Director of the Center for Contemporary Music during the 1980's. He taught interdisciplinary subjects at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of Arts and Crafts and has been a guest faculty member at many institutions, including the University of Illinois, where he was appointed George A. Miller Professor in 1995, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and Simon Fraser University. In the 1970's he was a Professor and founder of the Department of Music and Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Programme at York University in Toronto. He taught music and fine arts courses there, directed performing groups, was Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Faculty of Fine Arts, and founder and Director of the Electronic Media Studios and Laboratory of Experimental Aesthetics. In the 1960's he was a Creative Associate in the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of NY in Buffalo, Artistic Coordinator of New York's Electric Circus, Co-founder of a research and development company in the electronic arts (Neurona Co.), worked in commercial broadcast media, and was an active, independent performer, composer and producer. Prior to that, he studied at the University of Illinois with such composers and musicians as Salvatore Martirano, Lejaren Hiller, Kenneth Gaburo, Gordon Binkerd, Bernard Goodman, Paul Roland, Jack McKenzie, Soulima Stravinsky, and John Garvey, and engaged in special studies in physics, computer science, experimental psychology and multi-media there, at New York University and independently.

He has a particular interest in interdisciplinary work, combining the arts. sciences and humanities. He has served as an advisor, board member and professional affiliate with national arts organizations in the U.S. and Canada, has consulted to industry, operated several independent music and arts publishing and recording organizations and worked in television, film and video.

He has organized numerous performing groups, including the performance art group, Maple Sugar, in Toronto (with Manupelli and Humbert) and the open instrumental ensemble, Challenge, in Oakland (with Braxton and Winant), and has collaborated with many leading composers and musicians of our time. His own work has been presented extensively in Europe, North and South America and in Japan. He is a conductor emphasizing 20th century literature and has collaborated extensively with non-Western musicians. He has developed computer software for music, was co-designer of a computerized keyboard instrument with Donald Buchla, the Touché, and is co-author (with L. Polansky and P. Burk) of HMSL (Hierarchical Music Specification Language), a music programming language widely used by educational institutions and individuals. around the world.

Rosenboom has conducted extensive research into information processing modes of the brain as they relate to aesthetic experience and has published two books on the subject, Biofeedback and the Arts (1976), and Extended Musical Interface with the Human Nervous System (1990). Two of his well-known recordings, Brainwave Music (1976) and On Being Invisible (1977), feature the musical results of this work. His work is regularly disseminated through publications in books and professional journals, such as Perspectives in New Music, Leonardo, Musicworks, Computer Music Journal, Performing Arts Journal and others. He has received awards and commissions and has carried out research and creative projects with support from agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation, Canada Council, the Mellon and Irvine Foundations, York University, Mills College, the AT&T Foundation, the Norton Family Foundation, Yamaha Corporation of America, the Inter-University Consortium for Educational Computing and others.

Some of Rosenboom's other well-known recorded works include, The Seduction of Sapientia (1974), for viola da gamba and electronics; Suitable for Framing (1975), for two pianos and South Indian Mrdangam; And Out Come the Night Ears (1978) for piano and electronics; How Much Better If Plymouth Rock Had Landed On The Pilgrims (1969, released 1978), for unspecified instruments; In The Beginning (1978-81), a series of nine works for soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestra and electronics; Future Travel (1982) for computer and acoustic instruments; Zones of Influence (1984-85), for percussion soloist and computer instrument; Roundup (1987), an anthology of live electro-acoustic works; Systems of Judgment (1988), for computer music systems and various instruments; A Precipice In Time (1966 released 1991), a quintet with computer processing; Extended Trio (1992) for instruments and HMSL; and Two Lines (1995), duets written for collaborations with Anthony Braxton. His recent, interactive media performance work, On Being Invisible II (Hypatia Speaks to Jefferson in a Dream) (1995) was premiered at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts as part of the University of Illinois, School of Music's centennial, and later performed at the Los Angeles County Museum and Merkin Hall in New York.

In 1993, he was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles to design It is About to . . . Sound, (realized in collaboration with M. Coniglio and S. Mosko), and It is About . . . Vexations, two interactive media installations as part of Rolywholyover A Circus, celebrating the life and work of John Cage. Both pieces were shown at various galleries and museums in the United States and Japan during a two-year tour.

About Rosenboom's Systems of Judgment, Kyle Gann of the Village Voice wrote, "The piece sums up the 20th century, and sounds ravishing in the process . . . it was Systems of Judgment that seemed to fulfill a dozen 20th century promises at once, . . ." Regarding Rosenboom's piano performance, Josef Woodward of the Santa Barbara Independent (now with the Los Angeles Times) wrote, "Rosenboom, especially, was a revelation: He attacks the keyboard aggressively, a la Cecil Taylor, but with a dancer's sense of subtle dynamics."

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