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Hugh Davies, 1943–2005

Hugh Seymour Davies was born in 1943 at Exmouth, UK, and was educated at Westminster School before attending Worcester College, Oxford, in 1961 to study music. The following year he began working at the private electronic music studio of Daphne Oram, the director of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, an experience that set him on a path away from traditional music studies and toward the developing electronic music scene.

Following completion of his degree at Oxford, Hugh Davies moved to Kürten, near Cologne, Germany, to succeed Cornelius Cardew as assistant to Karlheinz Stockhausen. Among his duties was performing in the Stockhausen ensemble, where Mr. Davies was introduced to techniques of electroacoustic performance in such improvised pieces as Prozession and Mikrophonie I. He was also involved in assembly and documentation of material for other compositions, including the multichannel tape piece Gesang der Jünglinge.

Mr. Davies then worked briefly as a researcher for the Groupe de Recherches Musicales of French Radio, during which he compiled the initial catalog of electronic music, Répertoire internationale des musiques électroacoustiques (1967). He then returned to London, where he immediately became immersed in the developing free music scene with jazz-rooted improvisers Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, and Jamie Muir. At this time he also started to invent his own electronic instruments, many of which were constructed out of household objects such as door springs and egg slicers, amplified using contact mics. His instruments were both sonically intriguing and visually attractive, and this quality led quite naturally to a series of collaborations with visual artists eager to incorporate sound-producing elements into their installations.

Also in 1967 Mr. Davies established the first university electronic music studio at Goldsmiths' College, London, where he remained as part-time director until 1986 and as research consultant until 1993. A distinctive characteristic of this studio was its adoption of Hugh Davies's practice of self-made instruments, and much of the equipment was built by the students themselves.

In 1999 Mr. Davies became a researcher in sonic art at the Centre for Electronic Arts at Middlesex University, and he maintained many consultancies and visiting posts, including at the International Confederation for Electroacoustic Music (1982– 1986), where he was first secretary, and at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (1986–1993).

Hugh Davies was a contributor to catalogs, dictionaries, and books, including the New Grove series Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984), Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001), and Dictionary of Art. He devised or contributed to many exhibitions with the Arts Council's Eye Music (1986–1987), which presented the visual appearance of contemporary music scores as graphic art.

His collaboration with instrument inventors Max Eastley and Hans Karsten Raecke, guitarist John Russell, percussionist Roger Turner, and trombonist Hilary Jeffery led to the recording Interplay (1997). His most recent recording was Warming Up with the Iceman (2001), and the compilation of his writings about music, Sounds Heard, accompanied the opening of his sound installation Soft Winds do Blow (2002).

Hugh Davies died of cancer on 1 January 2005, aged 61. He is survived by his wife of more than 20 years, Pam Bailey, and their daughter, Rebecca, who was born in 1986.

Arthur Roberts, 1912–2004

Arthur Roberts (see Figure 1), a particle physicist who was also a musician and composer, died in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 22 April 2004. His career included 60 years of particle physics and contributions to medicine, military technology, and music. Most relevantly for readers of Computer Music Journal, Mr. Roberts was the developer of Music 4F, a music program inspired by Max Mathews's and Joan Miller's Music IV. Written in Fortran in the mid 1960s, Music 4F was portable. Unlike Music IV, it encapsulated all the synthesis functions in a single polyphonic "instrument," instead of adopting the unit generator model and assigning a different instrument to each voice. The program was described in his 1966 article "An All-FORTRAN Music Generating Program," Journal of the Audio Engineering Society 14:1;17–20.

Born on 6 July 1912 in New York City, Arthur Roberts received degrees in physics at the City College of New York and Columbia University, followed by a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-5169
Print ISSN
0148-9267
Pages
pp. 7-12
Launched on MUSE
2005-06-27
Open Access
No
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