John Oswald is one of Canada’s most internationally renowned composers, and arguably its most infamous one. Recently he’s composed a new work, refuse, for super-sized sinfonietta, commissioned by Turning Point, for a series of concerts entitled Zappa Varèse Oswald, and Fee Fie Foe Fum, a new work for New York’s Bang In A Can All-Stars, commissioned by Koerner Hall’s 21C Festival. His 1989 album plunderphonic is on the short list for the Polaris Heritage Prize. He is currently mixing a transcription for live performance by rock nonet of the 1994 album Grayfolded commissioned by and featuring the Grateful Dead.
His multifaceted sonic clock, A Time To Hear For Here (2007), was created to be a permanent environment at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. As a visual media artist and chronosopher he continues to create large-scale chronophotic light frescos, and is best known for the series stillnessence — a four-stage retrospective of this work was presented last April at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto. In recent years the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt premiered his b9, a condensation of all nine Beethoven symphonies; with the bnotions technologists Watchbook, an e-reader app he designed, was launched; he toured the former superpowers America and Russia with the Bill T Jones & Arnie Zane Dance Company, and opened a bar in Toronto, Art and Drinks, which specialized in time-based images, conversations, and sounds, plus beverages.
He is best known as the the creator of the music genre Plunderphonics, an appropriative form of recording studio creation which he began to develop in the late sixties. This has got him in trouble with, and also generated invitations from major record labels and musical icons. Meanwhile, in the ’90’s he began, with several commissions from the Kronos Quartet, to compose scores, in what he calls the Rascali Klepitoire, for classical musicians and orchestras.
He also continues to regularly improvise music and dance, has played with the CCMC since 1976, and as a member since 1996, with the Double Wind Cellos Trios in the ’90’s and, more recently assembled two editions a A Somewhat Large Acoustic Improvising Ensemble for Autumnal Happiness.
In 2004 he was appointed as a Governor General Media Arts Laureate. He was recently a non-academic Fellow at the Marshall McLuhan Institute in Toronto.
"The Maestro over There…." Cecil Taylor
refuse @ soundcloud
fee fi fo fum @ youtube
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