Spiegel, Laurie, American composer, innovator in computer-music technology, computer artist, and writer; b. Chicago, Sept. 20, 1945. She taught herself mandolin, then guitar and banjo in her youth; majored in social sciences at Shimer Coll. in Mt. Carroll, 111. (B. A., 1967), before switching to the lute and also studying composition with Michael Cjakowski, Persichetti, and Druckman at the Juilliard School in N.Y. (1969–72) and then at Brooklyn Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. (M.A., 1975), where she also studied American music with H. Wiley Hitchcock and Richard Crawford; received additional training in philosophy at the Univ. of Oxford, in classical guitar from John W. Duarte in London, in Renaissance and Baroque lute from Fritz Rikko, and in computer music from Emmanuel Ghent and Max Mathews at Bell Labs (1973–79). She taught composition and/or directed electronic-and computer-music studios at Bucks County Comm. Coll. in Newton, Pa. (1971–75), Aspen (Colo.) Music School (summers, 1971–73), the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in N.Y. (1979–81), and N.Y.U. (1982). Throughout the 1970s, she worked as a composer and music ed. for film and television and also created computer- generated visual art and computer-animation software based on her music software. She served as a consultant to firms involved in information- and signal-processing technology, being a designer of computer systems and software for musical composition and performance; her program Music Mouse—An Intelligent Instrument (1986) is widely known and used. In addition to her electronic and computer scores, she has composed works for traditional media. Her realization of Kepler’s Harmony of the Planets was sent into space as the first cut in the recording Sounds of Earth on each of the 2 Voyager spacecrafts in 1977. Her articles on such topics as music and computers, software design and applications, analogies between the musical and visual arts, and music in the media have appeared in a variety of publications; in 1977–78 she served as co-ed, (with Beth Anderson) of EAR magazine, a monthly tabloid devoted to the promulgation of new musical ideas. Spiegel has most recently been associated with the revival of Romanticism, tonality, and folk modalities and with the development of visual music, interactive process composition, algorithmic composition, logic-based intelligent instruments, and the use of computers as a performance instruments, compositional tools, and means of distributing music.
COMPUTER OR ELECTRONIC: Orchestras (1971); A Tombeau (1971); Sojourn (1971); Before Completion (1971); Mines (1971); Harmonic Spheres (1971); Return to Zero (1972); Sediment (1972); Rāga (1972); Sunsets (1973); Introit (1973); 2 Fanfares (1973); Purification (1973); Water Music (1974); A Meditation (1974); Appalachian Grove (1974); The Unquestioned Answer (1974; also for Harp, 1981); The Orient Express (1974); Pentachrome (1974); Patchwork (1974; rev. 1976); The Expanding Universe (1975); Drums (1975); Clockworks (1975); Voyages (1976; rev. with video, 1978); Music for a Garden of Electronic Delights (1976); A Folk Study (1976); Kepler’s Harmony of the Planets (1977); Concerto for Digital Synthesizer (1977); 5 Short Visits to Different Worlds (1977); An Acceleration (1978); Voices Within (1979); 2 Nocturnes (1980); Modes (1980); A Quadruple Canon (1980); A Canon (1980); Phantoms (1980); Nomads (1981); A Harmonic Algorithm (1981); A Cosmos (1982); Progression (1982); Idea Pieces (1983); Harmonic Rhythm (1983); Immersion (1983); 3 Modal Pieces (1983); Over Time (1984); Cavis Muris (1986); Passage (1987). OTHER: A Deploration for Flute and Vibraphone (1970); An Earlier Time for Guitar (1972); Waves, dance piece (1975); Music for Dance, dance-video piece (1975); Last River, dance piece (1976); Escalante, ballet (1977); Evolutions, music with video (1977); A living Painting, silent visual study (1979); Hearing Things for Chamber Orch. (1983); Over Time, dance piece (1984); A Stream for Mandolin (1984); Gravity’s Joke, dance piece (1985); Rain Pieces, dance suite (1985); All Star Video, music for videotape by Nam June Paik (1985); Song without Words for Guitar and Mandolin (1986); Cavis Muris (1986); Passage (1987); A Harmonic Algorithm (1988; from the projected A Musical Offering); 3 Sonic Spaces (1989); Returning East and After the Mountains (N.Y., Oct. 10, 1990); 3 Movements for Harpsichord (1990); also computer versions of pieces for Piano or Guitar; incidental music; film and video scores.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire