American composer Charles Dodge is in many ways a poster boy for the purely academic route to a career as a serious composer. Each step of his training and professional life has been well within the bounds of academic "safety," but even those who consider American scholastic music to be barren and lifeless (and there are many who do) must admit that in at least Dodge's case the whole of his career has proven to be greater than the sum of itsRead more parts -- he is an informed and creative musician, and is especially cherished by lovers of electronic music, having been a second-generation leader in that field.
Dodge was born in Iowa during World War II and studied composition at the University of Iowa during the early 1960s. During the summers of his time at UI, he took lessons from Darius Milhaud at Aspen and Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. In 1966, he took a master's degree from Columbia University, where Chou Wen-chung and Otto Luening counted among his mentors, and four years later took a doctorate from the same school. From 1967 to 1977 he taught at Columbia, and then from 1980 until the mid-1990s he held a professorship at Brooklyn College. Recent years have found him teaching at Dartmouth College.
Dodge began exploring electronic music while in graduate school (which, in partnership with Princeton University, ran one of the first top-notch electronic music studios in the world), and nearly all of the pieces he has written since 1970 are either wholly electronic in nature (two early examples being Changes of 1970 and Earth's Magnetic Field of 1970) or include vital parts for computer (electro-acoustic music, such as A Postcard from the Volcano for soprano and computer synthesis of 1986 or the 1994 concert Études for violin and computer). There are, however, a few traditionally-scored items in his catalog, including Distribution, Redistribution for clarinet, violin and piano (1983) and the chamber orchestra essay The One and the Other (1993).
He is the co-author of the 1985 text Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance, has twice held Guggenheim fellowships (1972, 1975), and has been honored four times with NEA composer fellowships. Read less
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