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Alvin Curran

American composer Alvin Curran co-founded the group Musica Elettronica Viva and has been active with solo performances, international radio concerts and large-scale sound installations since the 1960s. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Curran studied composition under Ron Nelson at Brown University, and afterward with Elliott Carter at Yale. After completing his studies -- which also included piano and trombone -- in 1963, Curran went with Carter to Berlin, where he remained for a year before moving to Rome. In 1966, Curran co-founded the free music collective Musica Elettronica Viva with Richard Teitelbaum and Frederic Rzewski. In the '70s, Curran focused on solo performances that utilized keyboards, taped sounds, voice and more; over the years, he has also performed on sampler and electronics. The '80s found Curran creating large-scale environmental works in quarries, ports, caverns, on lakes, etc. During this time, he also staged radio concerts of three and six ensembles performing simultaneously from various parts of Europe. From 1990 on, Curran has occasionally collaborated on sound installations with artist Melissa Gould. He has also worked with dance companies and composed for avant-garde theater in Rome. Curran's instrumental works have been commissioned by Kronos Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Rova, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and more. Some of his awards include those from Ars Acoustica International, NPR and the NEA. He taught briefly at the Academia Nazionale d'Arts, and starting in the mid-90s served as guest professor at California's Mills College. Recordings of Curran's works appear on several labels, including CRI, New Albion and Tzadik. ~ Joslyn Layne
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