It seems that cellist Hugh Livingston has devoted his career to building bridges between opposite worlds. He has performed both classical and contemporary repertoires, as a solo artist and with contemporary ensembles based in San Diego (Sirius and SONOR). He has worked extensively to develop a relationship between his instrument and the computer, premiering works by composers like Jonathan Harvey, Morton Subotnick, and Roger Reynolds. Finally, he also nurtures a keen interest in Asian music, which brought him to work with West Coast improvisers like shakuhachi player Philip Gelb and koto player Shoko Hikage.
Throughout his studying years, Livingston collected awards and mentions, building a reputation as a concertizing cellist and an innovator. He completed his B.A. in music at Yale College in 1990, received a DMA from the University of California, San Diego, and completed an MFA under Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick at the California Institute of the Arts. He won a Bach Society Prize and in 1997, first prizes in the Music of Japan Today and the Crane School of Music competitions. His extended bowing and plucking techniques, along with his interest in electronic music make, him an American counterpart to the Netherlands' Frances-Marie Uitti.
An active performer since the early '90s, Livingston has devoted most of his time to a composer/performer project called Strings and Machines. Begun as a research project at Yale to develop means of interaction between cello and electronics, Livingston soon moved the headquarters to San Diego and initiated fruitful relations with a number of composers from the San Francisco Bay Area. Experimentations and live performances led to his first solo CD, entitled Strings and Machines, released in 1999 by the Electronic Music Foundation's record label EMF. Since then, the project has grown to encompass all forms of interaction between creative music and technology. Now an organization directed by Livingston, it produces concerts and educational activities.