Bio


Robert Coburn is a composer and sound artist. His creative activities include traditional concert music, interactive performance technology, music and video, gallery installations, and soundworks as public art.

During the 2011-12 academic year Dr. Coburn was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award for lecturing and research in Japan where he was affiliated with the Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Tokyo University of the Arts). While in Japan he lectured on new approaches to composing for music and video, and the development of new musical styles in the U.S. His research focused on the meeting points of deep traditional culture and new creative activities. He met with many composers and performers, and composed new works for gagaku instruments (sho, ryuteki, hichiriki), computer, and video.

Recent compositions include Quiet Traceries (2015) for a chamber ensemble with evolving instrumentation; Three (2013) for piano; Interstitial Traces (2012) for alto and baritone saxophone, computer soundscape, and video; Kaze no Yume (2011-12) for sho, ryuteki, hichiriki, mokusho, rin, computer, and video; and emptiness [reflection] (2010) for alto saxophone, computer, and video. During the summer of 2013 he was a resident artist at the Yaddo Artist Retreat in Saratoga Springs, new York.

Other works include: Fragile Horizon for viola, speaking voice, computer, and video commissioned by the Brubeck Institute for the Brubeck Festival (2007); In Stillness for violin, computer, and video premiered at the Brubeck Festival (2005); TranquilTurmoil Dreaming for computer music and video (2003); PatternsLuminous for shakuhachi and computer music (2002); Voice (verse 1) for computer sound, premiered at the Symposium En Red O, Barcelona, Spain (1999); and Shadowbox for clarinet, premiered at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden (1994). Among his commissioned works are: Ad Vesperum for voice and 11 instruments, for the San Francisco New Music Ensemble; CANTOS for chamber orchestra, for the Sunriver Music Festival; Marking Time/Hearing Space for multiple performers and interactive technology, for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry; and Environs, for multiple sampling keyboards, soprano saxophone, and tenor for the Portland Composers Festival.

Since 1985 Dr. Coburn has made computer technology his primary instrument. His recent computer music pieces are performed live utilizing Max/MSP/Jitter. He has performed his works at many events and venues across the US including CCRMA (Stanford University); the Western Oregon New Music Festival; the Electronic Music Plus Festival; the Forum '82 Festival of New Music in New York; and the Roulette Fall Festival of New Music, New York.

As a sound artist, Dr. Coburn creates both temporary and permanent site-specific sound environment works. His permanent works include Bell Circles II, commissioned by the Public Arts Program in Oregon for the landscape of the Oregon Convention Center; and 39 Bells, commissioned by the Public Arts Program of the City of Philadelphia for the Avenue of the Arts. Temporary sound installations include between... beyond for the Reynolds Gallery and Glasslight Presence for the Henry Gallery in Seattle. Documentation of his permanent sound installations was featured in the exhibition Nada: an experience in sound at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi, India.

He has been professor of music composition and theory at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music since 1993 where he currently Chairs the Conservatory's Department of Music Studies. He is also Program Director for Composition and Music Theory, and Artistic Director of SoundImageSound International Festival of New Music and Video.