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Special live@CIRMMT Distinguished Artist Concert featuring John Chowning

— Mots-clés associés :

Quoi ?
  • live@CIRMMT
Quand ? 21/05/2009
du 19:30 au 19:30
Où ? MMR, New Music Building, McGill Univeristy (555 Sherbrooke St. West)
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Seating is limited.  Please reserve in advance by filling out the online form:

Les places sont limitées. Veuillez réserver vos places à l'avance sur le site:  

live@CIRMMT Reservation Form (John Chowning)

PROGRAM (all works by John Chowning)

Turenas (1972), 4-channel tape   10'

Phoné (1881), 4-channel tape   12'


Voices (v. 2)  for Soprano and Interactive Computer, Maureen Chowning, soprano   18'

Stria (1977) 4-channel tape, Reconstruction by Kevin Dahan (2007)   16'



John M. Chowning was born in Salem, New Jersey in 1934. Following military service and studies at Wittenberg University, he studied composition in Paris for three years with Nadia Boulanger.  In 1964, with the help of Max Mathews then at Bell Telephone Laboratories and David Poole of Stanford, he set up a computer music program using the computer system of Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Beginning the same year he began the research leading to the first generalized sound localization algorithm implemented in a quad format in 1966.  He received the doctorate in composition from Stanford University in 1966, where he studied with Leland Smith.  The following year he discovered the frequency modulation synthesis (FM) algorithm, licensed to Yamaha, that led to the most successful synthesis engine in the history of electronic instruments.   

His three early pieces, Turenas (1972), Stria (1977) and Phoné (1981), make use of his localization/spatialization and FM-synthesis algorithms in uniquely different ways. The Computer Music Journal, 31(3), 2007 published four papers about Stria including analyses, its history and reconstruction.  The following issue, 31(4), includes a DVD-ROM containing all of the support material and a 4-channel reconstruction of Stria.  After more than twenty years of hearing problems, Chowning was finally able to compose again beginning in 2004, when he began work on Voices, for solo soprano and interactive computer using Max/MSP.

Chowning was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1988. He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Music by Wittenberg University in 1990.  The French Ministre de la Culture awarded him the Diplôme d’Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1995, and he was given the Doctorat Honoris Causa in 2002 by the Université de la Méditerranée. He taught computer-sound synthesis and composition at Stanford University's Department of Music and was the founding director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), one of the leading centers for computer music and related research.




Coloratura soprano Maureen Chowning studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music before moving to the San Francisco area.  She has since appeared on the Public Broadcasting System’s NOVA series and Smithsonian World with Max Mathews, demonstrating his Radio Baton and conductor program.  She has also performed at concerts in Canada, Poland, and Japan and at the International Electronic Music Festival at Bourges, France, where in 1990 she gave the world premiere of Solemn Songs for Evening by Richard Boulanger and in 1997 she gave the premiere of Sea Songs by Dexter Morrill. She was invited to perform Sea Songs  in celebration of Max Mathews and the 50th anniversary of Computer Music at the Computer History Museum in April 2007.  In addition to singing the premiere of Joanne Carey’s Three Spanish Songs, she and the composer presented the work in Poland, Hong Kong, Vancouver and Mexico.  In March 2005 she gave the world premiere of “Voices” (version 1) for interactive computer and solo soprano at the Maison de Radio in Paris , commissioned by GRM and composed for her by John Chowning.  In March 2006  she performed the US premiere of  “Voices” (version 2) the as part of the Berkeley Symphony Concert series. Then in September 2006 she performed “Voices” and Jean-Claude Risset’s “Oscura” for soprano and computer in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. She is noted for her special ability to sing comfortably in alternative tunings, such as the Pierce scale, and in a wide variety of styles. Her repertoire ranges from Handel oratorios, operatic roles such as the "Queen of the Night" from Mozart's The Magic Flute, to contemporary music including works of Schoenberg, Babbitt, Qui Dong, Servio Marin, and Atau Tanaka.




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