Sound Art at MTF Stockholm: meet Charlie Morrow

From John Cage to Simon and Garfunkel, the Apollo Moon Landings to 3D immersive audio in VR, Charlie Morrow is what he describes as one of the first ‘lifers’ in electronic music technology and sound art.

Charlie Morrow is an American composer, performer, arranger, inventor, impresario - and above all a keen, open and original mind. Charlie’s sound art will be showcased and celebrated at MTF Stockholm - and explored in an indepth live interview at the festival.

Now based in Helsinki, Charlie Morrow had his start at Columbia College, where he studied with the electronic music pioneer Otto Luening and the ethnomusicologist Willard Rhodes. He played in the Tone Roads Ensemble with fellow composers Philip Corner, James Tenney and Malcolm Goldstein, and became close to radical innovators such as Alison Knowles and John Cage.

He founded and co-directed The New Wilderness Foundation with poet Jerome Rothenberg, exploring the avant-garde in all its dimensions: presenting concerts, issuing cassette recordings and publishing EAR Magazine, which chronicled new and unusual composition. He has an extensive collaborative history with the legendary Stockholm studio EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) who are supporting his work and installations at MTF Stockholm.

His work includes film scores (including the official 1970 NASA documentary Moonwalk One), commercials and advertising jingles (Diet Coke), arrangements for pop bands (Simon and Garfunkel and The Rascals), as well as large scale public music events (Concert for Fish coinciding with the resignation of Richard Nixon, and Toot ‘N Blink, a composition for two fleets of boats on Lake Michigan conducted by two radio DJs) and immersive sound art.

In 2010, the Little Charlie Festival was held in New York and, over the course of five days, it provided an indepth portrait of Morrow’s life’s work and ongoing activities.

Charlie has composed hundreds of pieces over the last half century, ranging from the simplest of vocal chants to vast installations featuring thousands of people – from folk singers and bell-ringers to rock bands and ordinary passers-by. Give him a gigantic orchestra or a conch shell, five household utensils or a brass ensemble, 40 cellos or 30 harps and he’ll return with some new music for you.

Much of his recent work has been in sound design. Charlie’s large-scale event soundscapings led to his invention of True3D immersive sound software and experiences, and with his company Charles Morrow Productions, he has been a pioneer in the field.

Leading museum designer Ralph Appelbaum brought MorrowSound® 3D soundscapes to Foster + Partners’ SC Johnson Fortaleza Hall, the Jewish Museum in Moscow, and Lincoln Castle’s Magna Carta installation in the U.K. Charlie has also created permanent 3D sound installations in hospitals, workplaces and public spaces - and has become increasingly involved in the world of VR.

Experience Charlie’s immersive and interactive sound art at MTF Stockholm, and join him for A Life In Music Tech: an indepth interview with Charlie on the #MTF Talks stage.