Larry Austin (b. 1930)

The Music of Larry Austin (July 14, 1988), Part 1
The Music of Larry Austin (July 14, 1988), Part 2

In a program from 1988, Charles Amirkhanian talks with one of America’s most fascinating composers specializing in electro-acoustic and computer music, Larry Austin (b. 1930). From 1958-72 Austin taught at the University of California in Davis while also serving as the first editor of the avant-garde music composition journal, “Source”. In 1972 he moved to the University of South Florida, and in 1978 he began teaching at North Texas State University where he directed the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia. This program surveys his music, both instrumental and computer-generated. It includes a performance of his “Sinfonia Concertante: A Mozartean Episode” which takes as its text letters written by Mozart which are read by a narrator and then turned into computer sounds while a chamber orchestra plays music sometimes reminiscent of Mozart. Also heard is the world premiere of Austin’s “Life Pulse Prelude” which is based on sketches for percussion music taken from Charles Ives's unfinished “Universe Symphony”. Amirkhanian and Austin discuss each piece and how, because the music is so difficult to play, the musician’s typically listen to a click track on headphones during the performance, so as to ensure that they keep to the proper timing.