Charles AMIRKHANIAN (USA)
Charles Amirkhanian (1945, Fresno, California, USA) – composer, lingua-artist. Graduated from the Fresno State University (BA, English language, 1967), San Francisco State University (MA, Interdisciplinary Creative Arts, 1969), Mills College (MFA, Electronic Music and Recording Media, 1980). Among the literary-musical phenomena that affected his creative development the author singles out G. Stein’s prose and poetry, and the development of her ideas in C. Coolidge’s works, and on the other hand – S. Reich’s minimalistic music. He started experimenting with the studio recordings (collage speech loops, imitated tape delays, multi-track layering, use of noise, etc.) in the late 1960s, working as a musical editor for the KPFA FM Radio in Berkeley (California, 1969-92). Since 1974 he has been collaborating with the artist C. Law, accompanying his sound poetry and musical productions by her slide- and film-projects. Amirkhanian is the author and compiler of one of the first anthologies of the American sound poetry 10+2: 12 American Text-Sound Pieces (among the participants are: J. Giorno, J. Cage, B. Gysin, A. Gnazzo, A. Saroyan, L. Anderson, Ch. Dodge and others, Berkeley: 1750 Arch Records S-1752, 1977). He has produced more than seventy large pieces of audio art, plays, oratorios, etc., that are presented in solo releases, international collections and anthologies. Since 1985 till 1992 Amirkhanian produced an original series of experimental sound art pieces (H. Kaiser’s studio, Oakland) which explore the interrelationship between what he calls abstract (musical) sounds and representational (recognizable ambient) sounds which are sampled and reconstructed into multi-layered collages. These sound plays, according to the author, “with their semi-narrative but non-literal relationships of contiguous images, form a kind of non-linguistic surrealism, suggestive of action but not actually descriptive to any specific end.” Among the key works are the following ones: Metropolis San Francisco (1985-86, Neues Hörspiel, WDR, Cologne; nomination at the Karl-Sczuka-Preis, 1986), Pas de Voix. Portrait of Samuel Beckett (1987, premiere at the Schönberg Hall, UCLA, 1987 and WDR, Cologne), Never Say Die (1989, premiere on the KPFA FM Radio, Berkeley and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, also in the program of the play by L. Bernstein, F. Zappa, J. Cage and others), Im Frühling (1990, premiere at the Whitney Museum/Equitable Center, New York, 1990 and WDR, Cologne), Loudspeakers. For Morton Feldman (1990, premiere at the Electronic Music Plus Festival, Mills College, 1991 and US National Public Radio, 1992) and many others. He repeatedly collaborated with Fylkingen (Stockholm), VPRO Radio (Holland), The Arch Ensemble, The New Wilderness Foundation, The New Arts Foundation, Summer Olympics (1984), New American Radio, etc. Since 1988 till 1991 he was the co-organiser and director of the Composer-to-Сomposer Festival (Telluride, Colorado), since 1993 he has been the art-director of the Other Minds Festival (Woodside, California; among the participants of various periods are: M. Monk, R. Ashley, Ph. Glass, C. Nancarrow, T. Riley, D. Byron and others). He is a laureate of many prizes and rewards in the area of music, including: Letter of Distinction (American Music Center, 1984), Deems Taylor Award (ASCAP, 1989), of grants for creative activities of the Rockefeller Foundation (1997, 1999-2000). Amirkhanian lives and works in El Cerrito (CA, USA).