Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ruth Anderson

Ruth Anderson

Ruth Anderson is a pioneering electronic music composer who has also taught on the subject for many years. She is perhaps best known for the two pieces which we've played here on Some Assembly Required. Both "SUM (State of the Union Message)" and "Dump" are composed primarily of sounds found in the media environment, and were composed in the early 1970's. She's one of a very small handful of artists who were working with sounds found in the broadcast media, at the time, and she's certainly one of the first women to be working in this particular vein.

Anderson played with the Totenberg Instrumental Ensemble in the 1950's, and toured briefly with the Boston Pops Orchestra as principal flautist. In the 1960's she was an orchestrator at NBC, working on documentary films, and went on to found the electroacoustic music center at Hunter College, in 1968. She served as the organization's Director, and taught theory and composition at the College for over twenty years.

She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts as well as a Fulbright Award, to name but a few of the organizations who have recognized her formally. Her compositions have been featured in festivals, on public radio, and at new music centers around the world.

Her responses below have been augmented by her partner, composer Annea Lockwood, and include a description of Ms. Anderson's 1970 composition, "Dump," which she wrote in 1986. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Ruth Anderson...

*Name: Ruth Anderson

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Ruth Anderson is my full name.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: It is a tape collage (analog). The media are “Dump”s topic and the "dump sounds" were recorded in a studio… Here's a description of “Dump” (1970) written in 1986: "Collage of folk songs, pop tunes and electronically generated "dump sounds" to form a social commentary from World War 1 through the sixties."

*Location: New York based

*Original Location: Kalispell, MT

*What is your creative/artistic background: Composer, flautist, and orchestrator for NBC (1960-66) and Lincoln Center Theater (1966). She designed and directed the Hunter College (CUNY) Electronic Music Studio (1966 - 89) where she also taught composition and theory.

*History: Her earliest compositions date from 1950.

*Born: 3/21/28 Kalispell, MT

*Motivations: Anyone's life at any moment is a collage.

*Philosophy: To be aware in the moment.

*Web address: Here is her entry at Wikipedia:

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