Drummond, Dean

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Drummond, Dean

Drummond, Dean, American composer, conductor, instrumentalist, and inventor of musical instruments; b. Los Angeles, Jan. 22,1949. He was educated at the Univ. of Southern Calif, in Los Angeles (B.M. in composition, 1971) and the Calif. Inst. of the Arts in Valencia (M.F.A. in composition, 1973), where he studied composition with Leonard Stein; while a student, he also worked closely with Harry Partch, whose instruments and works he later championed. In 1977 he co-founded Newband with the flutist Stefanie Starin, whom he subsequently married; in 1990 he became director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium, which in 1993 moved to the State Univ. of N.Y. at Purchase, where Drummond was also composer-in-residence. In 1999 he joined the faculty at Montclair State Univ. in N.J. as a visiting specialist. Drummond’s compositions frequently feature newly invented instruments (including his own zoomoozophone and juststrokerods), synthesizers, microtones, new techniques for winds and strings, and large ensembles of specialized percussion. He also made three arrangements: Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales for Flute and Zoomoozophone, after Harry Partch (1978), ’Round Midnight for Cello and Zoomoozophone (three players), after Thelonius Monk (1990; rev. 1993), and Najma for Alto Flute, Chromelodeon, Harmonic Canon, Kithara, and Zoomoozophone (two players), after John Coltrane (1994). Among his awards are a Guggenheim fellowship (1995–96), awards from the Koussevitzky Foundation (1992), Fromm Foundation (1993), and the Gary Trust Commission (1993), NBA fellowships (1988–89; 1995–96), a N.Y. Foundation for the Arts fellowship (1989), and 2nd prize in the John F. Kennedy Friedheim Award for Chamber Music for his Dance of the Seven Veils (1993); in 1995–96 he also received a Meet the Composer/Reader’s Digest commission for his live film score, Der Lezte Mann (The Last Laugh). He invented two instruments: the zoomoozophone (1978) and the juststrokerods (1988), which have been utilized by numerous contemporary composers, including John Cage, Ezra Sims, and Muhal Richard Abrams.


Suite for Clarinet (1970; Los Angeles, May 24, 1971); Bertrans de Born for Bass-baritone, Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Piano/Celeste, String Quartet, and Double Bass (Los Angeles, May 24, 1971); Ni Kioku for Flute, Celeste, Harp, 2 Percussionists, Violin, and Cello (Los Angeles, May 24, 1971); Organ Toccata for Pipe Organ (1971); Dedication for Oboe, Harp, 3 Percussionists, String Quartet, and Double Bass (Valencia, Calif., May 11, 1972); Fission for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Harp, Vibra-phone, Violine, Viola, and Cello (1972); Ghost Tangents for Prepared Piano and 3 Percussionists (Portland, Ore., March 11, 1973; rev. 1975); Cloud Garden 1 for Flute, Piano, and 4 Percussionists (Santa Monica, Calif., March 1, 1974) and II for Piano, Celeste, and Almglocken (1 player) (KPFK Radio, Los Angeles, Oct. 12, 1974); Zurrjir for Flute, Clarinet, Piano/Celeste, and 3 Percussionists (Ventura, Calif., Jan. 20, 1976); Dirty Ferdie for 4 Percussionists (1976; N.Y., Feb. 18, 1982; also for 8 Percussionists, 1982; Baltimore, April 22, 1986); Post Rigabop Mix for Flute(N.Y, Nov. 3,1977); Copegoro for Zoomoozophonist (1978; Stony Brook, N.Y., March 12, 1979); Little Columbus for 2 Zoomoozophonists (N.Y, May 29, 1979); Columbus for Flute and 3 Zoomoozophonists (1980; N.Y, Feb. 22, 1981); Mysteries for 4 Zoomoozophonists and Percussionist (N.Y, May 15, 1983; also for Flute, Bass Trombone, 4 Zoomoozophonists, and Percussionist, 1983, N.Y, April 5, 1984, and for Flute, Violin, Cello, 4 Zoomoozophonists, and Percussionists, 1982; rev. 1986); Then or Never for Flute, Viola, Double Bass, and 3 Zoomoozophonists (1984; N.Y, March 3, 1985); Columbus Fullmoon for Zoomoozo-phone (1979; rev. 1985; N.Y, Jan. 20, 1987); Ruby Half Moon for 2 Trumpets, Trombone, Bass Trombone, and 4 Zoomoozophonists/Percussionists (Croton Falls, N.Y, June 14, 1987); Incredible Time (to live and die) for Amplified Flute, Yamaha

DX7IID, and 3 Percussionists (Zoomoozophone, Percussion, and Korg DDD1 Digital Drums) (San Antonio, June 10, 1988); Different Drums for Different Strokes for Korg DDD1 Digital Drums, Yamaha DX7IID, Stroke Rods, and Percussion (1 player) (N.Y., Nov. 18,1988); Dance of the Seven Veils for 6 Players (N.Y., Nov. 13, 1992); The Day the Sun Stood Still for 9 Players (N.Y, Nov. 8, 1994); Before the Last Laugh for 7 Players (Minneapolis, Oct. 14, 1995); The Last Laugh (Der Lezte Mann), live film score, for Chamber Ensemble, for RW. Munau’s 1924 silent film of the same name (Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 28, 1996); Four Miniatures: Syncopation in Glass and Talking Bowls for Cloud Chamber Bowls (solo) and Bow, Chords, and Zoom and Three Dream Fragments for Zoomoozophone (duet; 1997); It Must Be Time for Soprano and Microtonally programmed Synthesizer (1997); Mars Face for Violin and Microtonally programmed Synthesizer (Washington, D.C., March 11, 1997); My Data’s Gone for Bass and Microtonally programmed Synthesizer (1997); Precious Metals for Flute (1997); Two Short Zoomoozophone Duos (1997); Two Short Solos for Cloud Chamber Bowls (1997); For the Last Laugh, suite from the film score for 10 Players (1998); Congressional Record for Baritone and 8 Players (N.Y, June 4, 1999); Cafe Buffe, chamber opera for 5 Singers, 9 Instrumentalists, and 4 Dancers, after Charles Bernstein (1997–2000).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire