From 1978-85 composer/pianist Janis Mattox created and produced intermedia works merging live performance, experimental
lighting and set designs, and interactive computer music technologies at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research
in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). In 1984, she premiered a seventy-minute music drama, "Shaman" for drummer George Marsh, bassist
Mel Graves, belly dancer, actor, live digital processing and computer generated tape. One of the first large-scale performance
works utilizing the new medium of digital synthesis and live electronics, "Shaman" became the subject of a feature article
in Smithsonian Magazine by Alan Rich, "A Composer Whose Music Has a Magical Twist."
In 1984, Mattox and composer/music
technologist Loren Rush produced a compact disc entitled "The Digital Domain" (Elektra), featuring digital music by composers
at Stanford's CCRMA. As one of the first generation of CDs, "The Digital Domain" was created to demonstrate the capabilities
of the new medium. A best selling classical CD, "The Digital Domain" became an audio standard in the industry and remained
in publication for over 10 years.
In 1985 Mattox, Loren Rush, John Grey, James Moorer and Pauline Oliveros co-founded
Good Sound Foundation (GSF), a group of professional musicians, artists and technologists dedicated to revitalizing the experience
of live performance. Soon to become commercially available, GSF's Virtual Acoustics is a sound enhancement technology that
has applications for live concert performance, recording, film and media.
1992 marked the premiere of "Book of Shadows",
a video ballet which Mattox conceived, produced, and scored featuring dancers Marci Javril and Riccardo Morrison. "This ground-breaking
video ballet employs experimental techniques in sound, performance, video and choreography to create a new and moving work",
comments one reviewer. "Book of Shadows" has received numerous international screenings and awards.
Mattox's work for
the last fifteen years has centered around the digitally enhanced piano tuned in Just Intonation, an ensemble of collaborating
soloists, and advanced digital audio technologies developed by GSF. Works she has created and directed for this ensemble and
technology include "Seven Chakras" (1992), created in collaboration with vocalist/performance artist Linda Montano; "Memories
of Fallen Angels"(1992), dedicated to those living with AIDS, featuring violinist Daniel Kobialka and Iranian vocalist Sussan
Deihim; "Tempo Perdido"(1994) in collaboration with vocaist/composer Silvia Nakkach; "Canto de Luna Llena" (1996) with Colombian
singer/guitarist Claudia Gomez; and "The Art of War" (1998) with jazz drummer Aaron Scott.
Janis Mattox received an M.A. in Music from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. She teaches piano privately,
specializing in creative approaches for kids. She served on the summer teaching staff at Stanford University and for six years
produced monthly demonstrations of digital audio technology at CCRMA. She has presented papers on computer music at the AES
National Convention in Los Angeles and at the International Computer Music Conference in Venice, Italy and served on the advisory
committee for New Music America. Her music is published on the radio series "Composers in California" (1981, National Public
Radio) recorded and produced by Alan Rich; the CD "The Digital Domain" (1984, Elektra); "West Coast Composers" (1986), a BBC
film documentary; the cassette "Numbers Racket II" (1992, Just Intonation Network); her film "Book of Shadows" (1992, Facets
Multimedia); the CD "Throne of Drones"(1995, Sombient Records); and the CD "Music for Enhanced Pianos" (1997, GSF).
awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, four NEA fellowships (for music composition and production), and grants from the Santa
Clara Arts Council, the Djerassi Foundation, the Rex Foundation and the Ross McKee Foundation (for music education).
Loren Rush studied composition with Robert Erickson (1954-60) and attended San Francisco
State University (BA 1957), the University of California, Berkeley (MA 1960) and Stanford University (DMA 1969). He has served
as associate music director of KPFA-FM, Berkeley (1957-60), director of the Performers' Choice concerts (San Francisco Bay
area) and founding director of the San Francisco Conservatory Artists Ensemble (1967-69, later the New Music Ensemble). His
appointments have included teaching positions at the San Francisco Conservatory (composition department chair, 1967-69) and
Stanford (1968-69), and the associate directorship of Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA,
Among his honors are the Prix de Paris (1960-62), Prix de Rome (1969-71), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1971),
and commissions from the Fromm Foundation (1964) and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (1973). His music has been performed
by the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Sym-phony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra,
Rome RAI Orchestra and Pierre Boulez' Ensemble Intercontemporain.
In its delicacy of texture and elegance of construction,
Rush's early music resembles the style of other Webern-influenced American and French composers. Many early works are in open
form: "Hexahedron" (1962-3)presents the pianist with a choice of routes through its structure; "Nexus 16" (1964) dispenses
with measured and synchronized ensemble attacks. An interest in historical precedent is clear in "Dans le sable" (1967-68),
which refers to Barbarina's cavatina in the fourth act of Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro". In 1970 Rush began to employ amplification
to increase the dynamic range of his compositions. Increasingly sophisticated computer programs allowed him to process intonation,
attacks, spatial placement and timbral manipulations of pre-recorded material with a new degree of complexity. Later works,
such as "Song and Dance" (1975), are dominated by rhythmic organization. Others use digital processing to refine musique concrete
("The Digital Domain", 1983) or to generate pure tuning systems, incorporated as taped sound into music played by conventional
forces. He has continued to intensify his study of intonation and acoustics, working closely with the performers for whom
his music is intended.
--by Charles Shere, New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians