Scalawag (2016), for solo drummer, excerpt
Born: Cleveland, Ohio, June 21, 1939
University of Southern California, BM, 1963. San Francisco State College, MA, 1968. Academy of Music, Vienna, 1960-61 (Karl Schiske, composition; Friedrich Cerha, new music performance; Karl Österreicher, clarinet). Adolph Weiss and Ernst Krenek, 1961-63. International Music Institute, Darmstadt, 1968. Center for Computer Research in Music, Stanford University, 1986.
Music critic, San Francisco Examiner, 1965-66, and Oakland Tribune, 1970. Coordinator, Mills Performing Group and Tape Music Center, 1966-68. Executive Director, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 1991-92. San Francisco Art Institute: Visiting faculty, 1996–2003; Associate Professor, 2003-2009; Distinguished Faculty Award, 2009. Senior Lecturer, California College of Arts and Crafts, 1996. Chairman, San Francisco Composers’ Forum, 1963-66. Board member, San Francisco Chamber Music Society, 1970-1983. Founder, BYOP Concerts, 1971. Board member, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (successor to BYOP Concerts), 1977-80. Artist advisor, City Summer Opera, 1988-95. Board member, Cambiata Chamber Soloists, 1988-89. Member, Artists Advisory Board, DiverseWorks, 1988-91. Member, Board of Directors, San Francisco Cinematheque, 1994-96; President, 1994-95. Corresponding writer, P-Form, 1990-96. Curator, “The One-Mile Shebang,” Collision Gallery, 1997. Curator, “Crossover Pix: Artists and Films,” San Francisco Cinematheque, 1998-99. Curator, "5 (1+1) + 6 >> 16," San Francisco Art Institute, 2008. Curator, "Technology, Nature, and Other Matters," San Francisco Cinematheque, 2008. Curator, “Beautiful Moving Images,” Artists Television Access, 2011. Advisor, ArtSeed, 2001- .
Commissions and Awards
National Endowment for the Arts (3 grants). Fulbright Fellowship to Austria, 1968 (unable to accept). DAAD fellowship for two years residence in Berlin, 1975-77. Residency, California Institute for the Arts, electronic music studio, 1985-86. Residency, Djerassi Foundation, 1987. San Francisco Symphony Commissions: First Landscape, Shadow. San Francisco Conservatory of Music commission: String Piece. San Francisco Chamber Music Society commission: Drift. Oakland Symphony commission: The Edge of the Land. Lowell High School commission: The Quickening Pollen.
Sibelius Academy/Helsinki. Hochschule der Künste/Berlin. Gesellschaft für Musik/Vienna. DAAD Galerie/Berlin. Amerika Haus/Berlin. United States Embassy/Warsaw. The Exploratorium/San Francisco. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (4). San Francisco Symphony. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (3). Oakland Symphony. Djerassi Foundation. DiverseWorks/Houston (2). University of Chicago. Northwestern University. University of Southern California (3). University of California/ Berkeley (2). University of California/San Diego (2). University of North Texas (2). Houston Community College. Rice University (2). University of Houston. University of Cincinnati. San Francisco State University (3). California State University/Hayward (3). Pomona College. Mills College. San Francisco Conservatory of Music. College of Marin. City College of San Francisco (3). University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee. New College of San Francisco (2). Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos/Cuernavaca, Mexico. Visiting Scholar, Istanbul Technical University (3). Seokyeong University/Seoul (2). Hanyang University/Seoul. Songsil University/Seoul. Suwon Science College/Suwon, Korea. Yale University (2). Arion Press/San Francisco. Lowell High School/San Francisco.
Zeitgeist in Babel (University of Indiana Press). Leonardo, Cum Notis Variorum. Music Library Notes. Dictionary of Twentieth Century Composition (E. P. Dutton). Arts and Architecture. Threepenny Review. P-Form. Cinematograph. Lingo. Sculpture Magazine. San Francisco Examiner. Oakland Tribune. Catalog essay for Verónica Sahagún.
Vienna, residence, 1960-61 and 1968-69. Paris, residence, 1972-73 and 1974-75. Berlin, residence, 1975-77. Other visits to Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Holland, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, USSR.
Works through 1985 are published by Editions Salabert, Paris
An archive of manuscripts, scores, programs, correspondence, and related materials is being gathered at the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Currently Working and living in San Francisco, CA.
John Adams, Lorene Adams, Robert Aitken, Benjamin Borson, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Joseph Celli, Eleazar de Carvalho, Manuel de Elias, Edo de Waart, Anna Carol Dudley, Mario Guarneri, Gerald Humel, Janet Ketchum, Karl Kohn, Jean-Louis LeRoux, Jacques Mercier,
Stephen Mosko, Isao Nakamura, Seiji Ozawa, Günther Passin, Carla Rees, Gerhard Samuel, Lukas Schiske, Robyn Schulkowsky, Louis Siu, Michel Tabachnik, Michael Tilson Thomas, Joel Thome, Bertram Turetzky, Jan Williams, William Winant.
San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Oakland Symphony, Juilliard Symphony, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique/Paris, Mexican National Orchestra (Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center), Orquesta Sinfonica de Veracruz/Mexico, Orquesta da Camera de Bellas Artes/Mexico, Sinfonia Concertante/San Francisco, Oakland Youth Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Santa Cruz Symphony, Modesto Symphony, Aspen Festival, Ojai Festival, Berlin Festival, Cabrillo Festival, Perugia Festival, North American New Music Festival/Buffalo, Shaw Festival/Niagara on the Lake, La Rochelle Festival, Royan Festival, Avignon Festival, Juilliard Contemporary Music Festival, Arhus Festival, Inter-American Festival, International Festival of Contemporary Music/Los Angeles, Camden Festival/London, Music Today/Tokyo, New Music America/Hartford, Wien Modern/Vienna, New Sounds/San Jose, Seoul Biennial for Contemporary Music, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, BYOP Concerts, San Francisco Chamber Music Society, New Music Ensemble/San Francisco, Monday Evening Concerts/Los Angeles, Sonor Ensemble/San Diego, Contemporary Music Players/Chicago, Composers’ Forum/San Francisco, Composers’ Forum/New York, Mills Performing Group, New Music Institute/Darmstadt, Les Lundis Musicaux de l’Athenée/Paris, Musicales de Mont Blanc/Chamonix, Redcliff Ensemble/London, 2e2m/Paris, Tendances Actuelles de l’Art Musical/Brussels, Portfolio Series/Cleveland, Pacifica Chamber Players/Berkeley, Collectif Musical International de Champigny, Gruppe Neue Musik/Berlin, Five Centuries Ensemble, Contemporary Music Forum/Washington D. C., Universidade Livre de Música/Sao Paulo, Danish Percussion Society/Copenhagen, Black Earth Percussion Group, “Drumming"/Alabama-Halle/Munich, The Percussion Group/Cincinnati, Society for New Music/Syracuse, DAAD Galerie/Berlin, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albright-Knox Gallery/Buffalo, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Künstlerhaus/Vienna, Künstlerhaus Bethanien/Berlin, British Center/Berlin, Walker Art Center/Minneapolis, Riverside Church/New York, Amerika Haus/Berlin, United States Embassy/Rome, Konserthus/Oslo, Salle Gaveau/Paris, Maison de la Culture/Grenoble, Purcell Room/London, Arnold Schoenberg Institute/Los Angeles, Schubert-Saal/Vienna, l’Atelier/Brussels, 1750 Arch/Berkeley, Town Hall/New York, Hollywood Bowl/Los Angeles, WDR/Cologne, RIAS/Berlin, ÖRF/Innsbruck, Radio-France/Paris, Hilversum-4/Holland, KKHI-FM/San Francisco, KQED-FM & TV/San Francisco, KPFA-FM/Berkeley, KPFT-FM/Houston, Minneapolis Public Radio, Victoria University/Melbourne, Peabody Institute, University of Southern California Contemporary Music Ensemble, Eastman School of Music, College Conservatory of Music/Cincinnati, Hochschule der Künste/Berlin, University of Nevada, University of Mexico, University of Oregon, San Francisco Art Institute, University of Kansas, Southern Methodist University, University of Maryland, Stanford University, Arizona State University, University of California/Berkeley/San Diego/Santa Cruz/Santa Barbara, Hartt College of Music, Portland State University, Rarescale/The Space/London, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, sfSound Series, Lowell High School/San Francisco.
First Landscape was commissioned for the sixtieth anniversary of the San Francisco Symphony and played for the first time in 1971. It is in three slowly unfolding sections of which this is the first. The comparatively dark colors are, in part, due to the fact that the ensemble is without violins. First Landscape is dedicated to Seiji Ozawa and the Symphony.
Solar One was written at the suggestion of my friends Janet Ketchum and Mario Guarneri who played it for the first time in 1986 on the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles. In writing the piece, I was particularly intrigued by how closely the colors of these two seemingly disparate instruments could be made to sound. Solar One is a power station near Barstow that greatly stirred me when I saw it for the first time. I like to think that whatever spark my piece might have responded to the energy coming from that awesome place in the California desert. Following the first performance, a man introduced himself and congratulated me on the piece; he was the engineer who designed Solar One!
The electronic sounds for Ellipse were derived from extended technique cello sounds and the pitches played during them by the live cello reinforce certain pitches in their complex harmonic structures. The piece consists of three such sections (this excerpt is the last), solo cello passages that come between them, plus an introduction during which the live cello produces white sound-like figures that interact with similar sounds and figures coming from the loudspeakers. The piece is written in appreciation of the work of the sculptor Richard Serra.
I am keen on composing for like-sounding instruments. My original idea was to write for two flutes, but hearing Bartók's violin duets one day quite by chance, my immediate response was, "No, not flutes: Violins!" Typical of much of my music, the instruments do not relate much through contrasting materials; instead, through the braiding together of closely related linear strands navigating static harmonic fields. This excerpt comes in the later part of the twenty-five minute piece.
The Watts Towers
I first saw the Watts Towers in 1961 when I was a university undergraduate in Los Angeles. They blew my mind, as did a comment by Simon Rodia who built them between 1921 and 1954. He said that many people had been kind to him after he came to the U. S. from Italy and that he wanted to give back to them in some way by doing what he did. It was only in 1981 that I felt I was able to make this piece, something to give back to the man who inspired me twenty years earlier.
The title Streaming has nothing to do with present-day, computer-world understanding of the term. Rather, it intimates the fast, downward-flowing passages toward which the first sections of the piece aim. David Subke's first performance of the piece left me floating at least a couple of inches off the ground.
Yellow is a Primary Color
Yellow is a Primary Color was written as a birthday present for my friend Daniel Shin when he turned eighteen. He played it magnificently for the first time a few months later in 2018. There is nothing programmatic in the title; yellow is simply my favorite color. I believe in disclosing my sources: The piece would not be as it is were it not for Karlheinz Stockhausen's Klavierstück VII with its complex use of piano resonance.
"The Quickening Pollen" by Charles Boone performed by Lowell High School Orchestra, Video
Will Charles Boone Please Step Forward?
Bay Area composer Charles Boone in conversation with Charles Amirkhanian, recorded June 27, 1972 at KPFA Berkeley.
Morning Concert: The Music of Charles Boone
Charles Amirkhanian interviews Bay Area composer Charles Boone about his early musical career, starting as a member of a high school band, then as a student at USC. He also studied with Ernst Krenek and Adolph Weiss in Los Angeles. Here he introduces a number of his pieces, including “Raspberries” for percussion ensemble