Clarence Barlow

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Clarence (also sometimes Klarenz) Barlow is native from India, but he has been living in Germany since 1968. A composer of chamber, orchestral, and electroacoustic music (in which field he is considered…
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Clarence (also sometimes Klarenz) Barlow is native from India, but he has been living in Germany since 1968. A composer of chamber, orchestral, and electroacoustic music (in which field he is considered a pioneer), he is mostly famous for his "Variazoni e un piano meccanico" (1989), one of the first pieces to use the Yamaha Disklavier, a computer-controlled grand piano. His name is associated with the Institute of Sonology (Utrecht, Netherlands) and Autobusk, a computer program designed to control random composition parameters. Barlow's music has been recorded sporadically and released on Wergo, Hat[now]Art and Los Angeles River. He teaches in The Hague and Cologne.

Barlow (born 1945) allegedly began to compose at age 11. His first known works (chamber music mostly) date from 1961. In 1965 he obtained a science degree, but continued to compose. By 1968 he was living in Cologne and was immersed in the developments of electronic music. Shortly after his arrival in Germany he stopped writing vocal music, although he continued to write for piano and chamber ensembles. His style changed, adopting minimalist views and focusing on parametric music ("...until...", 1972; "Cogluotobüsisletmesi," 1978). Other special points of interest in the course of the next decades include the use of human speech and works from other composers as a springboard (the latter featured on the 2000 HatHUT release Musica Derivata). His first electroacoustic pieces were completed at the beginning of the 1970s.

He first used a computer in 1971. Soon he began to dream of a way to make the machine compose by itself. He worked on his computer software from the mid-'70s up to its commercial release in 2000. Meanwhile Barlow visited the biggest electronic studios in Europe and lectured at Darmstadt during the 1980s. In 1986 he co-founded the GIMIK (Intiative Music und Informatik Köln). His "Variazoni" was premiered in Brussels in October 1989. It pioneered the interaction between a performer and a computer over the same instrument. Since then he has continued to compose and teach, remaining in the fringes of contemporary and computer music. Later works of interest include "Farting Quietly in Church" (player piano and computer, 1994) and "Les Ciseaux de Tom Johnson" (electric guitar, saxophone, and double bass, 1998).