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Paul Lansky’s Road From Computer Compositions To A Musical ‘Travel Diary’

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<p>Photo: Denise Applewhite</p>
<p>Composer Paul Lansky</p>

Composer Paul Lansky was a pioneer in computer music -- sounds generated and manipulated by a computer. The early computer music composers made their music out of computer code, often feeding punch cards into bulky, million dollar machines. The computers got smaller and more powerful over time.

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And then, after decades as an innovative composer of computer music, Paul stopped. He switched his focus to writing for live musicians. He's particularly fond of working with percussionists. This is the story of Paul's journey from the frontier of computer music to the pieces he writes now.

You'll also hear a complete performance of "Travel Diary" -- a percussion piece played by the Meehan/Perkins Duo, recorded live at the Bravo! Vail music festival -- in this episode of Centennial Sounds from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio.

Explore more music from Paul Lansky and the Meehan-Perkins Duo:

  • Watch So Percussion perform "Springs," another percussion piece by Paul Lansky.
  • See the Meehan/Perkins Duo play Steve Reich's "Nagoya Marimbas."
  • Read Lansky's account of what it was like to have his piece "Mild und Leise" sampled by Radiohead for the track "Idioteque."
  • Watch Doug Perkins of the Meehan/Perkins Duo play "Filigree," a piece by Robert Honstein that uses a vibraphone partially covered in tinfoil.