Clarence Barlow

Clarence Barlow
Corwin Endowed Chair of Composition

Office Location

Music Building 1129


Area Head, Composition Program


Curriculum Vitae

Professor Clarence Barlow is the Corwin Chair of Composition. From its inception, the Corwin Chair has been an important post for promoting the creation and performance of contemporary music, for making regional, national, and international connections with other composition programs, for bringing noted composers to UCSB as guests to broaden students' horizons, and for attracting students to UCSB. Barlow's career achievements fulfill the Corwin's vision of fostering a link between continuing excellence in traditional approaches to composition while also recognizing the emerging role of music in the media arts and technology. Barlow's past and current teaching posts include twelve years as Professor of Composition and Computer Music at the renowned biennial Summer Courses of the International Music Institute at Darmstadt (1982-1994); over twenty years as Lecturer in Computer Music at Cologne Music University (1984-2005); four years as Artistic Director of the Institute of Sonology at The Hague's Royal Conservatoire (1990-1994); and twelve years as Professor of Composition and Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire (1994-2006). Other posts include Visiting Professor of Composition and Acoustic Art at the Folkwang University in Essen, Germany (1990-1991), and Visiting Professor of Composition at the ESMAE School of Music and Dramatic Arts in Porto, Portugal (2005-2006).

Barlow, who studied composition under Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1968-1970) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (1971-1973), is a universally acknowledged pioneer and celebrated composer in the field of electroacoustic and computer music. He has made groundbreaking advancements in interdisciplinary composition that unite mathematics, computer science, visual arts, and literature. While he has been a driving force in interdisciplinary and technological advances, his music is nevertheless firmly grounded in tradition and thus incorporates much inherited from the past. His works, primarily for traditional instruments, feature a vocabulary that ranges from pretonal to tonal, nontonal, or microtonal idioms, and, further, may incorporate elements derived from non-western cultures. Between 1961 and 2016 Barlow has produced over 100 works of various types, 3 orchestral (2 piano concertos and a work for large orchestra); ~40 chamber works for various groups of traditional instruments, including 2 string quartets; ~30 piano pieces (including works for two pianos); 3 organ works; 2 choral pieces; 3 vocal works with accompaniment; and ~20 electroacoustic works, a few of which fall into the category of radio plays and music theater.

The works have been programmed on concerts far too numerous to list. Between 1976 and 2016, as many as 40 concerts in Europe and elsewhere have been devoted entirely to Barlow's music (Aachen, Barcelona, Bremen, Calcutta, Cologne, Dortmund, Frankfurt, The Hague, Hamburg, Helsinki, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Ljubljana, London, Munich, Münster, New York, Palma de Mallorca, Rotterdam, Santa Barbara, Stockholm, Trst?nice/Litomyšl, Wissembourg, Yokohama, Zurich). Several works have been recorded and released on CD.

In addition to his renown as a composer, Barlow has also attained high distinction as an interdisciplinary researcher, author, and software developer. His publications include numerous works, one of which is an extensive study on tonality and metricism, Bus Journey to Parametron (1980) and another on a variety of music-related subjects, On Musiquantics (2008, 2012). Additional publications are the software that Barlow has written as aids for composing and notating music. These include Autobusk, a modal and metric pitch and rhythm generator (2001), the notation programs ?SC (1976) and Tupletizer (1998) and numerous audio generation programs.

To learn more about Professor Clarence Barlow, please visit his personal website.