James Dashow was born on November 7, 1944, outside of Chicago. His musical studies began in high school with Horace Reisberg. His principal teachers at the university level were J. K. Randall, Arthur Berger and Seymour Shifrin. In 1969, Dashow went to Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship to complete his studies with Goffredo Petrassi. For many years, he studied the music of Luigi Dallapiccola independently.
One of the first to compose music for digital audio synthesis (“computer music”), Dashow was invited by Graziano (Giuliano) Tisato to work at the computer center of the University of Padova, where he created the first computer music compositions in Italy. He was the first vice president of the International Computer Music Association, has taught at MIT and Princeton University, and continues to actively hold master classes, lectures and concerts in Europe and North America. In 2003 he was composer-in-residence at the 12th Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival in Gainesville, Florida.
For several years he and Riccardo Bianchini coproduced a weekly contemporary music program for RAI. He is the author of the MUSIC30 language for digital sound synthesis, and invented the Dyad System, a method that both integrates pitch structure based on dyads into electronic sounds, as well as develops the pitch structure itself in terms of dyadic elaborations.
Following on his extensive use of audio spatialization as an integral part of the compositional process, Dashow composed the first opera designed to be performed in a Planetarium (ARCHIMEDES), taking advantage of the depth projection capabilities of the digital planetarium projectors, and the multichannel audio systems that together provide a full immersion theatrical experience. He continues to develop the idea of a double approach to spatialization, through the complementary concepts of Movement IN Space, and Movement OF Space.
His most important recognitions include the Prix Magistere at Bourges
in 2000, Guggenheim (1989) and Koussevitzky (1998) Foundation grants,
and in 2011 the Fondazione CEMAT distinguished career award “Il CEMAT
per la Musica” in recognition of his outstanding contributions to electro-acoustic
Awards and recognition
-- Names which are links in this box and below refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
© 1987 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on September 19, 1994. Portions were broadcast on WNIB two months later, and again in 1995 and 1999. A copy of the unedited audio was placed in the Archive of Contemporary Music at Northwestern University. This transcription was made in 2019, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.