PAUL DRESHER BIOGRAPHY
Paul Dresher is a composer pursuing musical interests in many media, including experimental opera and music theater, chamber and orchestral compositions, live instrumental electric music performances and electro-acoustic taped scores for theater, dance, video, radio and film. His performances utilize progressive contemporary music technology and the theatrical works use the resources of experimental theater to examine diverse issues in contemporary American culture.
As Artistic Director of the Paul Dresher Ensemble, he has guided the creation of the "American Trilogy", a set of music theater works which address different facets of American culture, in collaboration with writer/performer Rinde Eckert. The trilogy began with SLOW FIRE (1985-88), developed with POWER FAILURE (1988-89) and was completed in 1990 with PIONEER, a collaboration that includes visual artist Terry Allen, actress Jo Harvey Allen, tenor John Duykers and director Robert Woodruff. Currently in progress is OCHO RIOS, a new music theater work with playwright Eric Overmyer which will premier in 1997.
Most recently, in October 1993, Dresher premiered his new "electric chamber band" on a five city tour of Japan as part of Festival Interlink. This ensemble performs the works of a broad range of contemporary composers utilizing an orchestration combining both acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Since touring Japan this Ensemble has toured throughout the US and to Prague and Indonesia. Since 1987, he has created four works with choreographer Margie Jenkins. Their most recent work, THE GATES, was premiered at Jacob's Pillow in 1993 and opened the 1994 Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center and in 1995 toured extensively throughout Eastern Europe.
His commissions have included works for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, Kronos String Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony, Walker Arts Center, ODC San Francisco, University of Iowa, and the American Music Theater Festival. He has collaborated with directors Robert Woodruff, George Coates, Richard E.T. White and Tom O'Horgan. He has performed or had his works performed as such venues as the Munich State Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Festival d'Automne in Paris, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, the Minnesota Opera, Arts Summit Indonesia '95, and New Music America in 1981, '83, '85, '88 and '89.
Recordings of his works have been released on the Lovely Music, Music and Arts, O.O. Discs and New Albion labels. In 1993, New Albion released DARK BLUE CIRCUMSTANCE, containing both chamber and electronic works. OPPOSITES ATTRACT, his collaboration with multi-woodwind performer Ned Rothenberg, was released by New World Records in 1991, Minmax Music/Starkland released SLOW FIRE in 1992 and in 1995 Starkland released CASA VECCHIA, containing both electronic and chamber compositions. He has worked as producer on several recording projects and he was the consultant for engineering and production on John Adams' 1993 Nonesuch release Hoodoo Zephyr.
Born in Los Angeles in 1951, Dresher received his BA in Music from U.C. Berkeley and his M.A. in Composition from U.C. San Diego where he studied with Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros and Bernard Rands. He has had a long time interest in the music of Asia and Africa, studying Ghanian drumming with C.K. and Kobla Ladzekpo, Hindustani classical music with Nikhil Banerjee as well as Balinese and Javanese music.