EMS - History - Timeline

Events in Electro-Acoustic and Computer Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1953-83)

1953 - John Cage presents a lecture-concert of Music for Magnetic Tape (March 22); works by Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry, Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and John Cage are performed. Lejaren Hiller becomes interested in the new medium.

1956-57 - Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Issacson produce the now famous Illiac Suite for string quartet, the first piece of music produced with a computer.

1958 - Lejaren Hiller founds the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studio housed in a single attic room of Stiven House. The room combined electronic music equipment with a workshop and classroom area.

1960 - Faculty composer Ben Johnston is invited to work for a year at the Columbia-Princeton Studio in New York.

1962 - James Beauchamp arrives at the University of Illinois as a doctoral student in Electrical Engineering and begins working in the studio. Ben Johnston substitutes for Lejaren Hiller as director of the studio for one year. Grant of $30,000 is secured from Magnavox Corporation. Kenneth Gaburo is appointed Assistant Professor in Composition and builds a private studio at his home.

1963 - Herbert Brün arrives at the University of Illinois and serves as Hiller's research associate. Russell Winterbottom is hired as the studio technician. Lejaren Hiller and Robert Baker produce Computer Cantata. Official courses in electronic music are offered and taught by Herbert Brün and Lejaren Hiller.

1964 - Salvatore Martirano joins the composition faculty. A custom built 12-in-2-out mixer is installed in the studio. In addition to this new mixer, the studio now contains 2 sine wave generators, a square wave generator, a sawtooth wave generator, 2 Allison filters, and 3 Ampex 354 tape decks. Half-track stereo is now the standard track format of the studio. James Beauchamp completes his Harmonic Tone Generator which is capable of controlling the attack, steady state, decay, and amplitude of 6 harmonics of a generated tone. Futility 1964, by Herbert Brün, was composed and realized in the Experimental Music Studio using James Beauchamp's yet incomplete Harmonic Tone Generator at various stages of its growth. Salvatore Martirano completes Underworld for 8 performers and tape. Herbert Brün joins the composition faculty and begins working with computer music. He completes Soniferous Loops generated with the CSX-I and IBM 7094 computers using MUSICOMP in addition to the equipment in the studio.

1965 - Lejaren Hiller receives a National Science Foundation grant for computer analysis-synthesis.

1966 - Herbert Brün completes Non Sequitur VI generated with the IBM 7094 computer using MUSICOMP. Lejaren Hiller and Herbert Brün are invited to Darmstadt. The Eltro Rate Changer (Springer machine with rotating playback head) is acquired which allows for pitch variance without alteration of tempo. Computer music is formally offered as a class.

1967 - Jaap Spek arrives to work in the studio and assists Ben Johnston with his Museum Piece, written for the Smithsonian Institution. Salvatore Martirano completes L's GA for tape, 16mm film projectors, and gas-masked politico. Infraudables, one of Herbert Brün's best known compositions using the Illiac II computer, is completed. The record album Electronic Music from the University of Illinois is released on Heliodor Records (HS-25047).

1968 - John Cage returns for an extended stay as a member of the composition faculty. He and Lejaren Hiller complete HPSCHD for live performers and computer-generated tape. Kenneth Gaburo leaves the University of Illinois to accept a faculty position at UCSD. Lejaren Hiller completes Algorithms I and II and An Avalanche. Lejaren Hiller accepts a faculty position at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Herbert Brün becomes "artistic director" and James Beauchamp becomes "technical director" of the studio.

1969 - Salvatore Martirano begins construction of his Sal-Mar Construction, a 24-channel analog/digital real-time performance synthesizer, at the studio. James Beauchamp joins the music faculty and is appointed director of the studio.

1971 - The new Music Building is completed.

1972 - Studio equipment is moved into 6 rooms of the New Music Building's 5th floor. Phil Musser joins the faculty and serves as supervisor of the studios. A faculty policy committee is formed to direct activities at the studio.

1973 - John Melby joins the composition faculty and adds his computer music interests. Joe Pinzarrone joins the composition faculty as a part-time lecturer replacing Phil Musser.

1974 - PLACOMP hybrid computer development project begins and is directed by James Beauchamp.

1975 - Composition graduate student Scott Wyatt is asked to supervise the studios.

1976 - Scott Wyatt is asked to join the composition faculty and is also appointed director of the studios. John Melby receives a Martha Baird Rockefeller grant to record his Two Stevens Songs. Studio A is redesigned and rebuilt. Two Studer B62 tape decks, on MCI JH-110 half-inch 4-track tape deck, and a Stevenson interface mixer are purchased and installed. Herbert Brün completes Dust, the first composition from his project SAWDUST utilizing the PDP 11/45. SAWDUST was designed by Herbert Brün and was implemented with the assistance of Gary Grossman and Jody Kravitz.

1977 - Studio E is built. More Dust, by Herbert Brün, is completed via his SAWDUST project.

1978 - Studio D is built, centered around the TI980/PLATO PLACOMP system. The 20th Anniversary of the studios is celebrated with the presentation of three special anniversary concerts. Scott Wyatt's Menagerie is one of the winners of the International Society of Contemporary Music - American League's composition competition. Dustiny, by Herbert Brün, is composed and realized with his SAWDUST project.

1979 - John Melby's Chor der Steine wins 1st prize in the Bourges composition competition. Scott Wyatt's Four For Flute is one of the winners of the National Flute Association's composition contest. Herbert Brün's project SAWDUST is utilized to produce A Mere Ripple. Scott Wyatt completes his All For One, a sound sculpture composition realized in the studios for percussionist and tape involving specially-designed loudspeakers.

1980 - Studio B is rebuilt with the help of a $10,000 donation from a University of Illinois alumnus. Sever Tipei's Clariphannies for solo clarinet is produced with MP1, a computer program designed by Tipei for computer-assisted composition. U-Turn-To, by Herbert Brün is completed via his SAWDUST project. James Beauchamp becomes President of the Computer Music Association.

1981 - Sever Tipei presents MP1 at the International Computer Music Conference at North Texas State University. James Beauchamp is named a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society for work in analysis and synthesis of musical instrument sounds. Studio D is rebuilt with the instillation of a Synclavier II system, with assistance from an NEA grant. Herbert Brün composes and realizes his I Told You So with his project SAWDUST.

1982 - General Terminal Corporation donates two GT-110 terminals. As a result, Studio C (terminal room) is established for computer music classes and faculty research. Salvatore Martirano completes a video version of Underworld.

1983 - John Melby is awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Sever Tipei presents his MP1 at the Second Annual Contemporary Music Festival of the American New Music Consortium at New York University. John Melby receives a commission from the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center for Speculum Musicae (Wind, Sand, Stars). The 25th Anniversary of the studios is celebrated with the presentation of two special anniversary concerts. Scott Wyatt awards five commissions in celebration of the 25th anniversary to graduate student composers Antonio Barata, Brian Belét, Mary Ellen Childs, Mike Kosch, and Nelson Mandrell.