Bimstein, Phillip (Kent)

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Bimstein, Phillip (Kent)

Bimstein, Phillip (Kent), noteworthy American composer and politician, b. Chicago, Nov. 20, 1947. He studied theory and composition at the Chicago Cons, of Music (B.M., 1972). In the 1980s he led the new wave band Phil ’n’ the Blanks, whose 3 albums and 6 videos were college radio and MTV hits. After further studies at the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles in composition, orchestration, and conducting, Bimstein took a hiking trip to southern Utah, where he remained, becoming a two-term mayor (1993–2001) of the town of Springdale, and an outspoken advocate of Utah’s wilderness. His Dark Winds Rising for String Quartet and Tape (1992) is based on the controversy regarding a proposed toxic waste incinerator on the Kaibab Paiute Reservation. He received grants from the NEA (1991, 1993, 1995) and a Meet the Composer “New Residency Award” (1997–99). In 1992 he won the Prix Ars Electrónica for his Garland Hirschi’s Cows. In 2000 he was elected to the board of the American Music Center. Bimstein classifies his work as “alternative classical” his compositions often mixing traditional orchestral instruments with digitally sampled natural sounds or voices.


The Louie Louie Variations for Clarinet, Cello, Piano, and Marimba (1989; also for String Quartet, and for Mandolin Quartet); Garland Hirschi’s Cows for Digital Sampler (1990); Koulangatta for String Quartet and Harmonica (1990; in collaboration with C. Siegel); Dark Winds Rising for String Quartet and Tape (1992; also for Wind Quintet and Tape); Bim for Saxophone, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1993); Vox Dominum for Digital Sampler (1994); Liquid Interior for Digital Sampler (1994); The Door for Digital Sampler (1994); 5.7 Wild! for Violin, Alto Saxophone, and Bass (1996); Casino for Wind Quintet and Tape (1996); Rockville Utah 1926 for String Quartet (1997); Variations on “Come Come Y Saints” for Brass Quintet (1997); Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa for Oboe and Frogs, Crickets, and Coyotes on Tape (1997; also for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trombone, Violin, and Tape); Grand Staircase for Wind Quintet (1998); Refuge for String Quartet and Tape (1999); Busy Wushy Rag for Wind Quintet and Tape (2000).

—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire