Alvin Curran's music-making embraces all the contradictions (composed/improvised, tonal/atonal, maximal/minimal...) in a serene dialectical encounter. His nearly 100 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus. Whether in the intimate form of his well-known solo performances, or pure chamber music, experimental radio works or large-scale site-specific sound environments and installations, all forge a very personal language through recombinant invention.
Curran was born December 13, 1938, in Providence, Rhode Island. From age five he was involved in piano lessons, trombone, marching bands, Synagogue chants, Jazz, and his father's dance bands. He studied composition with Ron Nelson (B.A. Brown University 1960) and with Elliott Carter and Mel Powell (M.Mus., Yale School of Music l963).
In the MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA years (1966 -1971 in Rome), Curran performed in over 200 concerts in Europe and the USA with Teitelbaum and Rzewski, Carol Plantamura, Ivan Vandor, Alan Bryant and Jon Phetteplace; and makes significant artistic encounters with: Giuseppe Chiari, Edith Schloss, AMM, Cardew, Steve Lacy, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Steve ben Israel, Anthony Braxton, Simone Forti, Steve Reich, Joan LaBarbara, Michael Nyman, La Monte Young, Trisha Brown, Ashley, Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Larry Austin, Bill Smith, Ketoff, Robert Moog, Nuova Consonanza, MEV2, Meme Perlini, Mario Ricci, Maria Monti, Prima Materia, Ron Bunzl, Phil Glass, Charlemagne Palestine, Terry Riley, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Gregory Reeves, Serge Tcherepnin, Kosugi, Pulsa, Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, David Tudor, and Morton Feldman.
From 1975-80, Curran taught vocal improvisation at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica (Rome) and since 1991 has been the Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California.