"blue" gene tyranny

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blue gene tyranny

"Blue" Gene Tyranny

 

 

Born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1945, "Blue" Gene Tyranny has lived in each of the four corners of mainland USA. During the late 50's he studied with pianists Meta Hertwig and Rodney Hoare, composers Otto Wick and Frank Hughes, and organized new music events in Texas with composer Philip Krumm, including several festivals at the McNay Art Institute, premiering works by Cage, Corner, Maxfield, Ono and others.

After earning a BMI Student Composers Award in 1961, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. He performed there in his work and in many other events at the legendary ONCE concerts, while also working as a waiter, sales clerk and statistics coder. During the 60's and 70's, he toured with jazz and rock groups (Carla Bley Band, Iggy Pop, The Prime Movers Blues Band, etc.). From 1971 to 1982, as a Lecturer and Instructor in Music, he taught "Recording Studio Techniques", "Harmony and Counterpoint" (three levels), "Jazz Improvisation and Literature" and served on graduate committees in the Music Department of Mills College in Oakland, California. He also worked as a Technician at The Center for Contemporary Music, a non-profit, community-access facility located at Mills College. He moved to New York in 1983, where he is a self-employed composer/performer: solo and group concerts, audio consultancy, film/video/CD-ROM soundtracks, commissioned work. He has performed extensively in hundreds of concerts throughout the US, Canada and Europe, and also in Mexico and Brazil.

Tyranny has produced, recorded and performed on many albums of other composers' music (Laurie Anderson's "Strange Angels", David Behrman's On the Other Ocean, John Cage's "Cheap Imitation" and "Empty Words", etc.) and he composed the harmonies and piano improvisations for Robert Ashley's opera-for-television "Perfect Lives" (Channel Four, London). He has created over 40 soundtracks for film and video, collaborating on projects with video artists Kenn Beckman and Kit Fitzgerald.

His theater and dance collaborations include works with the Talking Band, Pat Oleszko (Nora's Art, 10 film scores), dancers Timothy Buckley (Proximology, Breakneck Hotel, the PBS-TV short, Endance, etc.), Rocky Bornstein (Labor of Love), the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (The History of Collage), the Creach/Koester Company's I Witness (1995), live electronic music for Stefa Zawerucha's The Black Box (1993) and Curve Ahead (1994), and many of the Otrabanda Company's plays including Brain Café, Re Room and Simpatico. He has received a Bessie Award for Composition, a NYFA Composer Fellowship, a NYSCA grant, and an OBIE for musical production. He has been an artist-in-residence at Bucknell and Wesleyan Universities, and was featured composer at the Western Illinois University New Music Festival in 2001.

"Blue" co-authored "Music Beyond The Boundaries" with Mark Slobin ("Generation", Univ. of Michigan, 1965), wrote the Avant-Garde section of the All-Music Guide (4 editions), and wrote hundreds of reviews and essays for their website. He also recorded 17,000 melodies in MIDI data format at this website. His essay "Sound Changing Its Own Behavior" appears in Robert Ashley's Music With Roots in the Aether (Edition MusikTexte Köln). He has also written extensively for the newmusicbox.com website, and provided liner notes for CDs by John Cage, Michael Schumacher, and Peter Zummo. Blue's work is discussed in Nicole Gagné's Sonic Transports and Soundpieces 2: Interviews With American Composers, William Duckworth's Talking Music, Kyle Gann's American Music in the Twentieth Century, Music Downtown, American Composers: Robert Ashley and other books, and in a feature article in Wire magazine (Dec. 2003). BGT translated (German to English) documentary material for Kevin Lally's Wilder Times: The Life of Billy Wilder (1996), and he appears in Paul Trynka's Lust for Life: The Iggy Pop Story (1996), as a character in Kathy Acker's I Dreamt I Was A Nymphomaniac: Imagining (in Portrait of an Eye, 1995), and Mary Ashley's Truck: A Dance (1964, pub. Burning Deck Press, 1972) and George Lewis A Power Stronger Than Itself (2008, Univ. Of Chicago Press). Blue's work is also discussed in Tim Lawrence's Hold on to Your Dreams (2009, Duke University Press) and Robert Ashley's Outside of Time: Ideas about Music (2009, Edition MusikTexte), Atalanta (Acts of God) (2011, Burning Books) and Perfect Lives (1991, Archer Fields). Blue's work is discussed in Nicole Gagné's Sonic Transports and Soundpieces 2: Interviews With American Composers and her recently issued Historical Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Classical Music , in Tom Constanten's autobiography, Between Rock and Hard Places (1992, Hulogosi), and in Benjamin Piekut's Experimentalism Otherwise: The New York Avant-Garde and Its Limits (2011, University of California Press).

Blue's work includes narrative pieces like The Driver's Son (an in-progress 36-scene audio-storyboard with 6 electronic Inventions for voices, orchestra and electronics, 1989 - present), His Tone of Voice at 37 (1999) for voice and chamber ensemble, and the mysterious Somewhere... song cycle (1997-2001) for voice and electronics; research pieces on human abilities like The Invention of Memory (2003-2005) a lyrical discourse for vocalist, 5 strings and piano, Country Boy Country Dog / How To Discover Music In The Sounds Of Your Daily Life (1967) for orchestra, electronics and environmental sounds, PALS/Action-at-a-Distance (1977), He Was Here (1998) and other works based on speculative science, Spirit (1996) for computer-edited harmonics and piano, Meditation: Nothing's Changed Everything's Changed (1961) for electro-magnetically stimulated piano, The Keys (in progress) communication and calculation studies for standard and hypothetical keyboards, The Intermediary (1981) a self-modifying, heuristic feedback system for improvisors, Holding Hands (work-in-progress) for hand movements and infra-red sensors, Sleeping Beauty in Camouflage (1992, 2005) for two melody instruments, organ (or synthesizer, or ensemble of 12 instruments), and piano, and The Forecaster (Premonition) (1988) for double orchestra, decoding chorus and time-transposing pianist; social commentary pieces like Harvey Milk (Portrait) (1978) and Random Arrest (1973); lyrical pieces like the Nocturne with and without Memory (1988), The Drifter (1994), and The De-certified Highway of Dreams(1991); and pieces written in the form of "procedural scores" that provide material for spontaneous improvisation like A Letter From Home (1976) and How Things That Can't Exist May Exist (an on-going collection of theater/street events, 1958 - present).

His currently available recordings include the Grammy-nominated Lovely Music release Take Your Time (nine works from 1961 - 2002 for solo piano with electronics), Free Delivery (live keyboard concerts and a filmscore excerpt), Country Boy Country Dog / How To Discover Music in the Sounds of Your Daily Life, His Tone of Voice at 37 on Tom Buckner's "Tone of Voice" CD for baritone and ensemble, Nocturne With and Without Memory on Lois Svard's "With and Without Memory", and The Intermediary for piano and shadowing electronics on vinyl. Also available are two early pieces (Diotima, Ballad) in "Music From The ONCE Festival (1961-1966)" on New World Records, a collaboration with The Bifurcators entitled Like A Bird in the Wilderness on Artifact Records, a live concert with the University of Michigan Digital Music Ensemble entitled Go Blue on O.O. Discs, The De-Certified Highway of Dreams in the piano duo Double Edge's "U.S. Choice" on CRI, and Somewhere in Arizona 1970 in "Imaginary Landscapes" on Elektra/Nonesuch.

 

   

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