Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Robert Ashley - She was a Visitor
Robert Ashley is a contemporary composer born March 28, 1930 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, best known for his operas and other theatrical works, often working within and across differing disciplines. His operas are far from traditional as they usually incorporate electronics and are often written and produced for television. He explains that English is a language where the consonants count, not the vowels, unlike many European languages, and so the text in operas written in English should be delivered much faster.
Ashley studied at the University of Michigan with Ross Lee Finney, at the Manhattan School of Music, and was later a musician in the US Army. After moving back to Michigan, Ashley worked at the University of Michigan's Speech Research Laboratories. From 1961 to 1969, he organised the ONCE Festival in Ann Arbor with Roger Reynolds, Gordon Mumma, and other local composers and artists. He was a co-founder of the ONCE Group, as well as a member of the Sonic Arts Union, which also included David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, and Gordon Mumma. In 1969 he became director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center. In the 1970s he directed the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music. more