Birthday greetings for March 23rd: Joel Gressel and Dane Rudhyar


Mar 23 2012 - 12:00am

portrait by Katherine GresselJoel Gresselportrait by Katherine GresselComputer music composer, Joel Gressel (b. Cleveland, 1943) received a B.A. from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in music composition from Princeton University. He studied composition with Martin Boykan and Milton Babbitt, and computer music with Godfrey Winham and J.K. Randall. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State CAPS program. His computer music has been recorded on the Odyssey and CRI labels.


His CD "Points in Time" is available on The composer notes "I have been drawn towards what seems to me to be idiomatic to the computer—a rhythmic language which only the computer can perform, and structured sounds that I have never imagined before." Listening excerpts here. 


Gressel's masterful electroacoustic work An Orderly Transition (1985, revised 2007) for Soprano and computer-generated sounds, with a text by Rachel Hadas, was performed at the ACA Festival 2008 by soprano Linda Larson, and explores further the composer's adherence to a rigorous system of sound synthesis and pitch organization, together with dramatic, but also intimate arioso vocal lines.


Dane Rudhyar, ca. 1916Dane Rudhyar, ca. 1916Dane Rudhyar (born Daniel Chennevière in 1895) was an author, modernist composer and humanistic astrologer. He was the pioneer of modern transpersonal astrology. His celebrated String Quartets - Advent and Crisis and Overcoming (also called Two String Quartets) were completed in 1976 and 1978 and recorded by the Kronos Quartet. New engraved editions of the quartets are available from ACA. 

In 1913, the young Rudhyar witnessed the premiere performance of Stravinsky's Sacre du Printemps. In 1914 he composed the piano work, Tango d'Antan, one of ACA's most often-requested scores. Rudhyar's Surge of Fire for small orchestra with three pianos, was performed in Los Angeles at the first concert of the New Music Society, October 1925, and later on in New York. Another performance took place at the California Institute of the Arts in May 1971, James Tenney conductor. Rudhyar became an American citizen in 1926, and collaborated with some of the most important and influential female dancers of the 20th Century. He passed away in 1985 in San Francisco. For further reading on this extraordinary life, see the biography on

Rudhyar's philosophy in identifying oneself with "the small, inconspicuous seeds that hold the promise of new life" is examined in Leyla Raël's The Essential Rudhyar.

"His life and his music - such perfect realizations of his vision of the new Seed Culture - will continue to inspire us, every one." --Charles Amirkhanian Artistic Director, Other Minds New Music Community.