Kuivila, Ron, American composer, instrument designer and programmer, and teacher; b. Boston, Dec. 19, 1955. He studied music and mathematics at Wesleyan Univ. (B.A., 1977) and electronic music and studio recording techniques at Mills Coll. in Oakland, Calif. (M.F.A., 1979), and then was artist-in-residence at Media Study in Buffalo (1979–80) and at Wesleyan Univ. (from 1981). Kuivila pioneered ultrasound (In Appreciation, 1979) and sound sampling (Alphabet, 1982) in live performance, and much of his music, the bulk of which is for live electronics, involves complex, often unpitched, electronic timbres; some of his compositions utilize existing recordings as source material. Throughout the 1980s he composed pieces based on high voltage phenomena, speech synthesis, and compositional algorithms, and his recorded works of the period seem to capture extremely complex improvisations utilizing complex musical rhetoric. Much of his work in the 1990s has taken the form of site-specific interactive multimedia installations, which have appeared throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has also designed commercial music software and exhibited at visual art galleries. Kuivila became active with one of America’s masters in live electronic composition and performance, David Tudor, and in 1995-96 he programmed and developed Tudor’s Neural Synthesis. In 1997, with John D.S. Adams and Matt Rogalsky, he made historically significant realizations of Tudor’s Rainforest II, Neural Synthesis, Dialects, and Anima Pepsi. He is currently on the faculty of Wesleyan Univ., and also guest lectures widely.
concert: In Appreciation (1979); Sketch (1979); Fast Feet, Slow Smoke (1982); Alphabet (1982); TI intends… (1983); Household Object (1982); Canon Y (1985); A Keyboard Study (1984); Minute Differences/Closely Observed (1985); Water Surface (1985); Loose Canons (1986); Chronotopes (1987); The Linear Predictive Zoo (1988); Pythagorean Puppet Theatre (1989), Fine Muck and His Good Fellows (1989); Canon III (1990); Jocular State (1991); Distemper (1991); i am virtual (yellow) (1991); Athabasca (1993); Civil Defenses (1993); Parsable (1995); Fugue States (1997); Electric Wind (for BH) (1996; rev. 1999); A Question of Placement (1998); Windy States (1999). installations:Comparing Habits (1979); Musicai Chameleon (1979); Arrows (1983); Sailing Ship/Flying Machine (1983); untitled (1984); Parallel Lines (1985); Unauthorized Prototype (1984); Agufl Vitae (1986); Second Wind (1986; rev. 1996); Conjugal Pairs (1987); Light Voices (1987); Sparfc Harp (1989); Radical Arc (1988); Dolci Mura (1989); 11 Giardino de Babele (1990); Sparfc Armonica (1990; rev. 1996); Der Schnufflestaat (1991); Dolci Mura (Athabasca) (1993); The Factory of Light (1993); Ridge Walk (1993); Singing Shadows (1993); VR on $5 a Day (1994); Miracle on 42nd Street (1994); Killeroke (1994); Locus of Focus (1995; rev. 1999); ShadowPlay (1996); Hothouse (1997); Brofcen Lines (1997); Making the World Safe for Piezoelectricity (1997); Building 12 (1998); Visitations (1999); Tell Sfaflte, snaring (1999); Ta// Shadows (1999). dance:Hatchmarks (1984); Future Antiquities (1984); Λ Loner’s Discourse (1984); Parodicals (1985); The Smell of Fact (1985); Blurred Genres (1986); Corpus Delecti (1987); Engrams (1988); Tune in/Spin Out (1996).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire