Horowitz, Richard, American composer and instrumentalist; b. Buffalo, Jan. 6, 1949. In 1968 he became a pianist with Alan Sylvia’s Orch., playing at European festivals. He returned to America in 1969 to study at Antioch Coll., but difficulties with the selective service led to a decade-long exodus to Europe and North Africa. From 1970 to 1980 he studied electronic music in Paris, and microtonal modulation and the ney (reed flute) in Morocco with Kasmi Nacquisabundi. He composed for the Mabou Mines and choreographer Alice Farley; he performed with Anthony Braxton, Jon Hassell, and David Byrne. His recordings include Oblique Sequences/Solo Ney Improvisations No. 1 (1979) and Solo Ney Improvisations No.3; he also collaborated with Daniel Kobialka on the album Mémoire (1982). His film scores include Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky (1990; screenplay by Paul Bowles). In 1981 he began a remarkable collaboration with the Iranian-born American vocalist, dancer, and composer Sussan Deiheim (b. Teheran, Dec. 14, 1956); their works are based on a dense tangle of Middle Eastern, jazz, and avant-garde styles, and involve improvisation, electronics, and computer processing. The works themselves are hypnotically intense but highly formal, with structures and titles based on complex puns and paradoxes; among their stage works are Desert Equations (1984), Azax/Attra (1985), Von Sabbah, Ghost of the Assassin (N.Y., 1988), and X-Isle Isle X (1989). They also collaborated on a recording, Abstract Quotients (1984).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire