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, 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 Philharmonic, 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 Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, that recorded performance released on a col legno compact disc in 2004. 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 is sheer metaphysical sorcery..."

Since 1964, Austin has composed more than eighty works incorporating electro-acoustic and computer music media: combinations of tape, instruments, voices, orchestra, live-electronics and real-time computer processing, as well as solo audio and video tape 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 electro-acoustic music genres through the past thirty-five years. Austin was the first US composer to be awarded the 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 latest piece, Adagio: Convolutions on a Theme by Mozart, for clarinet and computer, commissioned by the renowned concert clarinetist, F. Gerard Errante.

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 tarogato player Esther Lamneck, ¡Tarogato! (1998), for tarogato 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 recent work, Threnos, for bass clarinet(s) and octophonic computer music, commissioned by Michael Lowenstern. Other Austin works on the program include ¡Tarogato!, Williams [re]Mix[ed] and Ottuplo! His recent 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 upcoming 75th birthday with a concert performance of his recent octophonic computer music, including Djuro's Tree (1997), ¡Tarogato! (1998), Williams [re]Mix[ed] (2001), Threnos, (2003), and Tableaux: Convolutions on a Theme (2004).

From 1958 to 1972 Austin was an active member of the music faculty of the University of California, Davis as a conductor, performer, and composer. There, in 1966, he co-founded, edited, and published the seminal new music journal, according to Music of the Avant Garde. 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) of CDCM: Consortium to Distribute Computer Music, producer of the CDCM Computer Music Series on Centaur Records, with thirty-two 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 composing career with commissions, tours, performances, writing, recordings, and lecturing, anticipating future extended composer residencies in North America, Japan, and Europe.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | February 24, 2002