Administration and Staff

David Rosenboom

David Rosenboom

David Rosenboom (b. 1947) is a composer, performer, interdisciplinary artist, author and educator known as a pioneer in American experimental music. During his long career, he has explored ideas about the spontaneous evolution of musical forms, languages for improvisation, new techniques in scoring for ensembles, multi-disciplinary composition and performance, cross-cultural collaborations, performance art and literature, interactive multi-media and new instrument technologies, generative algorithmic systems, art-science research and philosophy, and extended musical interface with the human nervous system. 

He has been Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts since 1990. He taught at Mills College from 1979 to 1990, where he held the Darius Milhaud Chair and was Professor of Music, Head of the Music Department, and Director of the Center for Contemporary Music. In the 1970s he was founding faculty and a professor in the Music Department at York University in Toronto. He studied at the University of Illinois in the 1960s with Salvatore Martirano, Lejaren Hiller, Kenneth Gaburo, Gordon Binkerd, Paul Rolland, Jack McKenzie, Soulima Stravinsky and others and was later awarded the George A. Miller Professorship as a visiting artist there. He has also taught or held positions in the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo, at Bard College, Simon Fraser University, San Francisco Art Institute, California College of Arts and Crafts, Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale and Ionian University in Greece.

His work is widely presented around the world. Recent highlights have included: a fifty-year retrospective of his music presented in a series of performances at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2015), a six-month exhibition of his work with brainwave music at Centre Pompidou-Metz in France (2015-2016), a four-month exhibition of his work in computer music at Whitechapel Gallery in London (2015-2016), a retrospective of his music for piano(s) at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall (2016), the premiere of his Nothingness is Unstable for electronics, acoustic sources and dimensional sound diffusion at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn (2017), new music for Yamaha Disklavier™ piano and interactive electronics at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia for ImproTech 2017, a composer-pianist portrait concert at Center for Experiments at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (2018) and numerous other international festival events, publications, recordings and keynote speeches. During the most recent three seasons his ground-breaking work for live electronic music and computer analysis of brain signals, Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones (Deviant Resonances), has been presented in venues around the world, including: The House, Plymouth University (UK), Computer Music and Multi-Media Research festival; Centre Pompidou-Metz; Haut École de Musicque de Genève Festival Multimod Performer-Composer; Fleet Science Center IMAX, San Diego, Art Music Technology Festival; Gray Area Grand Theater, Buchla Memorial Festival), San Francisco; and Le Centquatre-Paris, INA GRM (2018).

His compositions, performances, and productions have been recorded and distributed by a variety of labels, most recently including: Tzadik, New World Records, Unseen Worlds Records, Pogus Productions, The Industry Records, Cold Blue Music, Centaur Records, Art into Life (Japan), Nine Winds Records, Mutable Music, EM Records (Japan), Lovely Music Ltd., Black Saint (Italy), West Wind, Elektra Nonesuch, Frog Peak Music, Big Pink Music (South Korea), Music Gallery Editions (Canada), and others. In 2019 a new double-CD with booklet, Deviant Resonances—Live Electronic Music with Instruments, Voices and Brains will be released by PARMA Records, and a re-release on vinyl of his 1976 classic, Brainwave Music, is planned by Black Truffle Records.

Rosenboom is author of influential books, book chapters, articles and monographs. Examples of important titles include: Biofeedback and the Arts; Extended Musical Interface with the Human Nervous System; Propositional Music: On Emergent Properties in Morphogenesis and the Evolution of Music; Collapsing Distinctions: Interacting within Fields of Intelligence on Interstellar Scales and Parallel Musical Models; Active Imaginative Listening—A Neuromusical Critique; “2 + 2 = Green” Innovation in Experimental Music at the University of Illinois; A Conversation About Music Between Iannis Xenakis and David Rosenboom; Fostering and Supporting Student Creativity and Innovation; Propositional Music of Many Nows; and many others. In the 1980s Rosenboom and colleagues Phil Burk and Larry Polansky originated a widely used software environment for experimental music called HMSL (Hierarchical Music Specification Language).

Some of Rosenboom’s well known titles for compositions spanning instrumental music, electronic and computer music, brainwave music, interactive media, performance art, experimental opera, and more include: Zones of Influence (concert-length work for percussion and interactive electronics); Zones of Coherence (score with configuration spaces for solo or multiple trumpets); AH! opera no opera (interactive work with poet Martine Bellen and collaborators); Twilight Language (piano), In the Beginning (eight works for acoustic and electronic instruments); Naked Curvature (Four Memories of the Daimon—A Whispered Opera); Bell Solaris (Twelve Movements for Piano— Transformations of a Theme); Seeing the Small in the Large (Six Movements for Orchestra); On Being Invisible (self-organizing work for electronics and brain signal analysis); Continental Divide (gradual process music for variable ensemble), Systems of Judgment (solo concert-length work for live computer music and instruments); Is Art Is (variable ensemble), How Much Better if Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims (variable ensembles and sound sources), and many others.

Currently, Rosenboom is working on a book about compositional models and exploring the universe through experimental music, entitled Propositional Music, preparing new musical compositions focused on the positive force of artists in socio-cultural evolution, preparing a variety of new recordings to be released soon, and other creative projects.

Following his 2015 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Rosenboom was lauded in The New York Times as an “avatar of experimental music.” Rosenboom is a Yamaha Artist. 

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