B.A.(music and mathematics), Illinois Wesleyan University; M.M. (musicology) and D.M.A. (composition-theory), University of Illinois
William Brooks studied music and mathematics at Wesleyan University (BA 1965), then received degrees in musicology (MM 1971) and composition-theory (DMA 1976) from the University of Illinois. Among his teachers were Charles Hamm in musicology and Ben Johnston, Kenneth Gaburo and Herbert Brün. He has been associated with John Cage as both performer and scholar; he played in the world premiere of HPSCHD and has several times directed productions of Cage’s Song Books. Brooks taught at the University of Illinois (1969-73) and at the University of California (1973-7), then worked as a freelance composer, scholar and performer before returning to the University of Illinois (1987). There he was Associate Professor of Composition, director of the Contemporary Chamber Singers, and Chair of the Composition-Theory Division for many years. In 2000 he became Reader in Music at the University of York, and in 2006 he was named Professor. Recently he has also been appointed Senior Research Fellow at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium. He remains active as a composer and scholar. Among his recent compositions are Six Mediaeval Lyrics, an extended work for female voices premiered by Donald Nally and The Crossing in January 2011; A Wake of Music, four songs for soprano, clarinet, cello and piano; and Metamorphoses, an hour-long treatment of texts from Ovid, for baritone, soprano, surround sound and video projection. Recent writings include the Orpheus Institute volume MetaCage: Essays on and around Freeman Etudes / Fontana Mix / Aria; "Progress, Protest, and (Im)possible Music" (Contemporary Music Review 29:4); and "Pragmatics of Silence," in Silence, Music, Silent Music (Ashgate, 2007).