Michael ByronNew York, NY
Michael Byron was born in 1953 in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from high school, he attended the newly opened California Institute of The Arts, where he studied with James Tenney. Byron’s compositional trajectory was shaped largely by his association with the early experiments in music, and visual arts at CalArts. Composers Harold Budd, and Richard Teitelbaum (two lifelong friends) became both mentors and colleagues. In 1972 he met, and sustained lasting relationships with both Lou Harrison, and Robert Ashley. His early music was reductive and transparent.
In 1974, Byron left CalArts and moved to Toronto. He lived in the small town of Maple, Ontario where he, composer David Rosenboom, and filmmaker George Manupelli, founded the multidisciplinary performance art group, Maple Sugar. By this time, his music had become increasingly complex, and intricate. His music and scores reflected a compelling interest in stochastic and ergodic forms. This has remained central in the formal organization of all of his music. While in Toronto, he taught at York University, and worked as music editor for E.C. Kerby, completing a new edition of Varese’s Octandre. He published the acclaimed anthology series, Pieces, devoted to the increased visibility and dissemination of exploratory American music, and was editor of the interdisciplinary Journal of Experimental Aesthetic, published by A.R.C. of Canada.
In the fall of 1978, with the encouragement of Lou Harrison, he moved permanently to New York City. As his compositional output grew, he was frequently engaged as an editor on various projects for Robert Ashley, Lucas Foss, and others. He later worked for the DIA Art Foundation as assistant to composer La Monte Young, and at Kitchen Center as archivist, where he frequently performed. He began composing, performing and recording larger chamber pieces both here and abroad. The first of these pieces, Tidal, was premiered at the Kitchen, with Julius Eastman conducting. Tidal was immediately recorded and released on Glenn Branca’s label, Neutral Records.
Byron’s collaborations with String Noise, and pianists Joseph Kubera and Marilyn Nonken and others, are characterized by extreme virtuosity. He developed a model for composing polyrhythmic, and contrapuntal writing of extreme complexity and multiplicity.
His music has been released by Cold Blue Music, Meridian Records, Poon Village Records, Neutral Records, Tellus, Koch Records, and New World Records. Scores are available from Frog Peak music,
Byron lives with his wife, the poet Anne Tardos, in New York City.