Joel Ryan

Joel Ryan [2003 © Jan Sprij]

Joel Ryan

Joel Ryan (NL/US) is a composer, inventor and scientist - a pioneer in the design of musical instruments based on real time digital signal processing.

Joel Ryan could serve as a paradigm of a strain of American inventor/composers. Starting from a scientific rather than a musical education, he moved into music by degrees from physics via philosophy, studying with Herbert Marcuse, and Albert Hofstadter, and instrumental study with among others Mexican film composer and guitarist Jose Barroso and Ravi Shankar. This was in California at a time when it was possible to regularly attend performances by Subbulakshmi and Jimmy Hendrix, John Cage and Harry Partch, Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane, experiences which released him forever from the spell of academic modernism. He enrolled at the infamous Mills College Center for Contemporary Music near San Francisco where, by way of composers Robert Ashley and David Behrman he joined the emerging community of artist hackers which helped define Silicon Valley. Ryan sought to bring a concreteness to digital electronic media through the intelligent touch of the performer. Performance was the essential missing ingredient and he became a pioneer in the design and playing of real-time interactive digital signal processing instruments.

He has collaborated extensively with composers and artists such as Evan Parker, George Lewis, Bill Forsyth, FM Uitti, Steina Vasulka, Jerry Hunt, Michel Waisvisz and ArtAngel. Formerly a Research Associate at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories of the University of California, he has taught philosophy, physics, and mathematics. He currently works at STEIM in Amsterdam, tours with the Frankfurt Ballet and is Docent at the Institute of Sonology. His music has been performed in the Theater Chatelet in Paris, the Concertgebau Amsterdam, the Akadamie Der Kunst and VolksTheater in Berlin, the Kitchen in New York and at the Alameda Festival in London. Most recently he has collaborated with William Forsyth on EIDOS/TELOS, Tight Roaring Circle, Sleepers Guts and Kammer Kammer for the Frankfurt Ballet; and with James McDonald on Roberto Zucco for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Other works include The Number Readers, Hat Moon Joy, and The Effect of Noise on the Sleep of Children.

Joel Ryan wrote the essay MuViz - Visualization Notes for Making Art of Databases (V2_, 2003).



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