Born in Israel, but now spending half of his time in the United States, Amnon Wolman has been composing since the early '80s. He started with works for orchestra and various chamber groupings, but gradually integrated the computer as a compositional and performative tool. His music often retains elements of romanticism (Thomas and Beulah is a post-modern lieder). It also usually includes sociopolitical content -- if only in its concept or title -- as Wolman is an activist for Gay rights and Middle Eastern political causes. He teaches at Northwestern University in Chicago and at Tel Aviv University (Israel).
Wolman was born and raised in Jerusalem. Music was an integral part of family life, but the child decided to become a musician after participating in a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at age 12. After his compulsory military service (1973-1976), he worked for a while in television before attending Tel Aviv University. When tensions between Israel and its neighbor Lebanon reached a peak in 1982, the student, now completing his master's degree, looked for a way out. He obtained an exchange student scholarship from the government of the Netherlands and enrolled at the Institute for Sonology. His intention was to learn about computer music to better despise it, but his plan had the opposite effect. Afterwards, he studied at Stanford University (1985-1986) and his meeting with John Cage completed his transformation into an avant-garde composer.
In 1989, Wolman began to teach music and direct the computer music studio at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL) and from that point on, he would spend a lot of time lecturing and teaching around the world. His participation in 1990 to the event New Music America in Montreal resulted in one of his first electro-acoustic works to be released by the label Empreintes DIGITALes ("Man-Bridge" on the compilation Électro Clips). Later, Wergo released a CD of his chamber works. In 1993, he directed and produced "Don Giovanni Revisited" (based on Mozart's opera). It premiered in Chicago and later toured, going as far as Israel. The 1994 piece "Andy Warhol Diaries" lasted 11 hours and called for input from Internet contributors at a time when the network was still in its infancy. Grants and awards continued to pour in, but Wolman's works were not finding their way to record.
The wind turned at the beginning of the 21st century. Innova released his electro-acoustic song cycle Thomas and Beulah (on poems by Rita Dove) and c74 (a label owned by the software company Cycling 74) put out Dangerous Bend, a collection of computer pieces that introduced him to the experimental electronica scene. ~ François Couture