Larry Austin
10205 Murray S. Johnson St.
Denton, TX 76207 USA
EMail: larryaustin@grandecom.net
 
 

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Larry Austin, composer

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Biography

Larry Austin (b. 1930, Oklahoma), composer, was educated in Texas and California, studying with Canadian composer Violet Archer (University of North Texas), French composer Darius Milhaud (Mills College), and American composer Andrew Imbrie (University of California-Berkeley). He also enjoyed extended associations in California in the 'sixties with composers John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and David Tudor.    

Highly successful as a composer for traditional as well as experimental music genres, Austin's works have been performed and recorded by the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and the National Symphony orchestras, as well as many other major ensembles in North America and Europe. Austin has received numerous commissions, grants, and awards, his works widely performed and recorded, including the 1994 premiere performance and recording by the Cincinnati Philharmonia, Gerhard Samuel, conductor, of Austin's complete realization of Charles Ives's transcendental Universe Symphony (1911-51), that performance followed at the 1995 Warsaw Autumn Festival by the National Philharmonic of Warsaw and, in May, 1998, a festival performance in Saarbrucken, Germany, by the Saarland RundfunkSinfonieorchester, that recorded performance released on a collegno compact disc in 2004. In December, 2005, the Noord Netherlands Orkest, performed Austin's realization in a three-city tour. Reviewing the compact disc recording of Austin's completed realization of the Universe Symphony, Richard Taruskin wrote in the New York Times, "Nothing I can write will give you an idea of the experience you are in for. All I can do is urge it upon you....Whoever [Ives] started it or finished it [Austin], the work is what it is, and it is wonderful....it is sheer metaphysical sorcery....." His most recent performance of his Universe Symphony realization/completion was presented by the Nashville Symphony at Carnegie Hall, New York City, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, on May 12, 2012, in the final concert of the Spring for Music Festival (see New York Times review).

Since 1964, Austin has composed more than eighty works incorporating electroacoustic and computer music media: combinations of tape, instruments, voices, orchestra, live-electronics and real-time computer processing, as well as solo audio and video compositions. Reviewing Austin's computer music recordings for the Computer Music Journal, Philip Baczewski wrote, "...Mr. Austin's [works display] a pervasive aesthetic and mastery of his genre." In 1996, Austin was awarded the prestigious Magistère (Magisterium) prize/title in the 23rd International Electroacoustic Music Competition, Bourges, France, for his work BluesAx (1995-96), for saxophonist and computer music/electronics and for his work and influential leadership in electroacoustic music genres through over forty years. Austin was the first USA composer to be awarded the coveted Magistère. In February, 2005, he was awarded and served as Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. There, he worked on his piece, Adagio: Convolutions on a Theme by Mozart, for clarinet and computer, commissioned by the renowned concert clarinetist, F. Gerard Errante, then premiered at the New Music and Art Festival, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, October 27, 2005. His recent work, Les Flûtes de Pan: Hommage à Debussy, for flute and computer music, was commissioned by flutist Jacqueline Martelle and was premiered in New York at the Experimental Intermedia Foundation during the 2006-7 season. His recent work, Redux, is a commissioned piece for violinist Patricia Strange and octophonic computer music. It was premiered in May, 2007, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and ReduxTwo, for piano and computer music was commissioned and performed in February, 2009, by the distinguished pianist Joseph Kubera in New York at the Roulette Intermedium. He was recently honored "for his longstanding dedication and meritorious contributions to the field of electro-acoustic music" and presented with the 2009 SEAMUS Award by the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States. His latest work, ReduxThree (2011), for clarinets and computer music, with video by David Stout, was composed for clarinetists F. Gerard Errante and D. Gause and was premiered at Clarinet Fest 2011, August 5. 2012, in Northridge, California.

Over the past fifteen years, Austin has been invited to a number of residencies to work on his compositions. In summer, 1997, Austin was Magistère composer-in-residence at the BEAST studios at the University of Birmingham, UK, working on two commissions: Djuro's Tree (1997), solo octophonic computer music, commissioned by Borik Press and a commissioned sound-play for baritone Thomas Buckner, Singing!...the music of my own time (1997-99), for baritone voice and octophonic computer music. In summer, 1998, Austin was awarded a month-long composer residency at the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Italy, completing his commission from tárogató player Esther Lamneck, Tárogató! (1998), for tárogató and octophonic computer music. In February, 2000, Austin was a guest research fellow in the Electroacoustic Music Studios, University of York, UK, working on a commission for the London-based Smith Quartet, completing ambisonic recordings for Ottuplo! (1998-2000), four inter-episodes for real and virtual string quartet. In September, 2000, Austin had a month-long composer residency at the International Institute for Electroacoustic Music, Bourges, France, which commissioned his work, Williams [re]Mix[ed] (1997-2001), for octophonic computer music system. On January 30, 2003, in an Interpretations, Merkin Concert Hall concert in New York City with composer James Dashow, was presented the world premiere of his work, Threnos, for bass clarinet(s) and octophonic computer music, commissioned by bass clarinetist Michael Lowenstern. Other Austin works on the program included Tárogató!,Williams [re]Mix[ed] and Ottuplo! His composition, Tableaux: Convolutions on a Theme (2003-4), for alto saxophone and octophonic computer music, was commissioned and first performed by saxophonist Stephen Duke at Northern Illinois University, February, 2004. In March, 2005, Austin was honored at Bowling Green State University for his then upcoming 75th birthday with a concert performance of his recent octophonic computer music, including Djuro's Tree (1997), Tárogató! (1998), Williams [re]Mix[ed] (2001), Threnos, (2003), and Tableaux: Convolutions on a Theme (2004). In February, 2009, he and composer Annea Lockwod presented an Interpretations duo-concert at Roulette Intermedium in New York City. He has recently been invited to participate in a concert in celebration of his upcoming 80th birthday on September 12, 2010, produced by and at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, University of North Texas, Denton. A second 80th-year retrospective was presented on June 11, 2011, in New York at the Issue Project Room.

From 1958 to 1972 Austin was a member of the music faculty of the University of California, Davis, active there as a conductor, performer, and composer. There, in 1966, he co-founded, edited, and published the seminal new music journal, SOURCE: Music of the AvantGarde. Subsequently, he served on the faculties of the University of South Florida, 1972-78, and the University of North Texas, 1978-96, founding and directing extensive computer music studios at both universities. In 1986 he founded and served as president (1986-2000, 2008-present) of CDCM: Consortium to Distribute Computer Music, producer of the CDCM Computer Music Series on Centaur Records, with thirty-nine compact disc volumes released since 1988. On the Board of Directors of the International Computer Music Association (1984-88, 1990-98), Austin served as its president, 1990-94. Retiring from his 38-year academic career in 1996, Austin resides with his wife Edna at their home in Denton, Texas. Working in and out of his Denton studio, gaLarry, Austin continues his active career with commissions, tours, performances, writing, recordings, and lecturing, anticipating future extended composer residencies in North America, Asia, and Europe.