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Charles Amirkhanian: Mental Radio (1994)

(p) 1990 Arts Plural Publishing (BMI). All rights reserved.

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Charles Amirkhanian (Woodside, CA) is a composer, percussionist, sound poet, and radio producer. For many years music director at KPFA-FM in Berkeley, Amirkhanian was also founding co-director of the acclaimed Composer-to-Composer Festival in Telluride, Colorado. He has produced numerous works for international venues such as radio station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Cologne, Germany, and Swedish radio. An internationally known radio artist, Amirkhanian is currently executive director of the Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside, California. He has produced two major works with commissions from NEW AMERICAN RADIO: Politics As Usual (1988) and Walking Tune (A Room Music for Percy Grainger) (1986-87). A third -- Miatsoom (or Reunion in Armenian) -- is upcoming in 1996.

Other Radio Works and Recordings

Politics as Usual (1988)

A series of audio explorations incorporating both abstract (instrumental) and representational (ambient) sounds, processed in the Synclavier studio of Henry Kaiser. Featured are the gong collections of Lou Harrison and Toni Marcus and an assortment of talking parrots.

Commissioned by NEW AMERICAN RADIO.

Pas de Voix (Portrait of Samuel Beckett, 1986-7) (1987)

"An impressionistic, cyclical, narrative sound portrait, touching on various aspects of Samuel Beckett's life." (Amirkhanian) Created from ambient recordings of the lobby of Beckett's apartment building, the open-air Metro stop across the street, the bells of Notre Dame, a sound sculpture plus some extended-technique electric guitar sounds and a selection of sonic bodily functions. Commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne, Germany.

Walking Tune (A Room-Music for Percy Grainger) (1986-7)

An homage to Australian-American composer Percy Grainger. Grainger's Walking Tune for solo piano was conceived in 1900 during a tramp through the Scottish Highlands. In this work Amirkhanian uses the Synclavier digital synthesizer-- a tool Grainger would have embraced eagerly--to combine sounds recorded out-of-doors (tramping in Utah; the shriek of geese; a swarm of humming birds) with musical sounds, and he shapes a sensual and powerful sound-music piece that is true to Grainger's own song of praise to the natural world.

Commissioned by NEW AMERICAN RADIO.