Born in 1926, Kenneth (Louis) Gaburo spent much of his adult life watching the way electronics dramatically shaped his surrounding world and his own compositional style. Just after his 30th birthday, he attracted considerable attention when he brought forth an upsurge of works that involved both electronics and multimedia. It was around this time that his talents began to be formally noticed; he acquired a George Gershwin Memorial Award in 1954 and an award from the Berkshire Music Center in 1956. A student of Bernard Rogers, Burrill Phillips, and Goffredo Petrassi, he attended Eastman School (B.M., 1944; M.M., 1949), the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (1954 - 1955), the Berkshire Music Center (1956), and the University of Illinois (D.M.A., 1962). Shifting his focus from tonality to serialism, and then to what he called compositional linguistics, he produced a varied body of vocal, instrumental, dramatic (three operas), and experimental pieces that
involved, but were not limited to, any combination of the following elements: clarinet, prerecorded sound and film, flute, slides, trombone, multiple choruses, piano, acrobats, percussion, and text.
After teaching at several universities, including Kent State (1949 - 1950), McNeese State (1950 - 1954), University of Illinois (1955 - 1968), and University of California (1968 - 1975), he created a small company that issued multimedia, taking his career in a new direction. Probably inspired by an earlier project that had produced the group of consecutively numbered works -- Lingua I (1965 - 1970), Lingua II (1967 - 1969), Lingua III (1970), and Lingua IV (1970) -- he named the business Lingua Press. The venture undoubtedly increased his stature as did the awards he took in the years just prior: a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967, a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Grant in 1971, and an NEA grant in 1975 - 1976. He primarily focused the last 15 years of his life on his compositions, continuing to yield diversity with De/bate (1972 - 1988), Essays on Damage -- and Other (1987 - 1991), Antiphony X (Winded) (1989 - 1991), Hiss (1992), and Mouthpiece II (1992).