A native of Dallas, Texas, Edmund Campion (b. 1957) completed his doctoral study in composition at Columbia University, and spent several years in France working with Gérard Grisey. In 1993 he was invited to study at IRCAM where he composed LOSING TOUCH for vibraphone and tape (visit EDMUND CAMPION at IRCAM) (Billaudot Editions, Paris). He was subsequently commissioned by IRCAM in 1995 to compose and perform NATURAL SELECTION for interactive electronics and midi grand piano, and was again commissioned by IRCAM in 1999 to work with choreographer François Raffinot on the music for the multi-media ballet PLAYBACK. In 1996, Campion joined the composition faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is Co-Director at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) (www.cnmat.berkeley.edu).
Many of Campion’s works explore relationships between performance, sound, and space—explorations often born of extra-musical inspirations or thoughts. The piece OUTSIDE MUSIC for ensemble and hyper-keyboard employs many of his hallmarks: creating new computer software, creating new invented instruments, introducing new performance practices, and oftentimes challenging the process by which new works of musical art are made. In technical collaboration with computer music researcher Matthew Wright at CNMAT, Campion developed CORAIL, for saxophone and computer (INNOVA Records with Susan Fancher). CORAIL places the performer in the role of navigator and instigator, offering a real-time electronic ecosystem of sound for the performer to generate and occupy. ADKOM for four percussionists, was created with dynamic computer-generated tempo maps (Matthew Wright again) in an attempt to create acoustic music not hitherto possible. DOMUS AUREA for piano and vibraphone (Peters Editions), was inspired by the history of the Grotesque as described in Geoffrey Harpham's book, On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature. Harpham mentions the piece and his connection to the work in the preface to the most recent edition. ME, for baritone and computer, composed in close collaboration with poet John Campion, has the computer controlling the singer's actions through an in-ear prompter. Acting as super-ego, the computer allows the performer to escape the stage and score to create a dark rendition of the male persona through history. Other projects include the percussion sextet ONDOYANT ET DIVERS (Wavelike and Diverse) (Billaudot Editions, Paris), written for the Percussion de Strasbourg Ensemble, and Practice, for orchestra and computer, written for the American Composers Orchestra. Campion is currently working on a new commission for the Zellig ensemble to be premiered in 2010 at Cal Performances in Berkeley and Radio France in 2011. The new piece involves the use of evolving tools for organizing musical time being developed by John MacCallum at CNMAT. Future projects include a Koussevitzky Foundation commission for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Past prizes and honors include: the Rome Prize, the Nadia Boulanger Award, the Paul Fromm Award at Tanglewood, a Charles Ives Award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Fulbright scholarship for study in France. He has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, Radio France, and CIRM among others. Campion’s music is featured on a solo CD project with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, David Milnes, conductor (Outside Music, Albany Records Troy 1037). Most of his works are available for hearing and viewing at www.edmundcampion.com.