W. Andrew Schloss studied at Bennington College, the University of Washington, and Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1985 working at CCRMA (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics). He has taught at Brown University, the University of California at San Diego, The Banff Centre for the Arts, and currently at the University of Victoria.
Schloss is a pioneer in new musical instruments, and a virtuoso on a new instrument called the radiodrum. He has received numerous awards and fellowships: Fulbright Scholar in France at IRCAM/Centre George Pompidou, collaborative composer's grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, research fellowship from the BC Advanced Systems Institute (ASI), creative grant from La fondation Daniel Langlois, a New Media Initiative grant jointly awarded from the Canada Council for the Arts and NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council), Research/Creation Grant from SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council), commission from the British Columbia Arts Council, and the Jack Straw Foundation, among others. He has been a JUNO awards judge in the World Music category for several years, was on the advisory board of CIS/R, Canadian Heritage, a judge for the Chalmers Awards, consultant to the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, and other organizations.
At IRCAM in the mid-80's, Schloss began to explore interactive computer music and improvisation with the radiodrum, a new instrument that he still pioneers. He has since focused his work on performance and composition with this instrument, using it to explore interactive computer music and improvisation. As a percussionist and computer musician, he has performed with such legendary figures as Tito Puente, Chucho Valdés, and also with Rickie Lee Jones and Joe Jackson at the EMP (Experience Music Project) opening concert in Seattle. He was invited to perform at the Centennial celebrations at Stanford University along with Leon Theremin (electronic music pioneers), the creator of one of the earliest and most significant electronic musical instruments.
In the 1970's Schloss toured Europe and North America with acclaimed British director Peter Brook as a member of the International Centre for Theatre Research (CIRT), as well as renowned music theatre composer Elizabeth Swados. With Swados, he performed on Broadway in Agamemnon, directed by Romanian director Andrei Serban. He performs on the radiodrum in a duo with jazz pianist/composer Jeff Gardner in Europe and the US, for example in Germany at the ZKM’s Multimediale II Festival, in Canada at Electric Eclectics. In addition, he frequently collaborates with San Francisco composer David A. Jaffe on musical projects. They are currently working with renowned sound artist Trimpin on using kinetic robotics in antiphonal concert settings. To this end, their most recent collaboration entitled The Space Between Us, for two string quartets and percussion, received its world premiere in San Francisco on March 4, 2011 at the Other Minds Festival, partially funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. Its Canadian premiere was at the Open Space Gallery in Victoria, BC, followed a performance at the Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space (with partial funding from New Music USA) in Seattle in March, 2016. Another recent collaboration with Trimpin was a piece called 8:66 for Trimpin, based on an installation called CanonX+4:33=100, mounted at the Open Space Gallery. This project resulted in a book published by the gallery entitled entitled Shut up and listen! doucmenting the entire project.
Schloss has performed numerous times in concert with Cuban jazz pianist Hilario Durán. Their first collaboration was a live national broadcast on CBC radio from the Winnipeg New Music Festival in January, 2001. They later were invited as the Durán/Schloss/Mitri Trio, with violinist Irene Mitri, to perform at the Interactive Arts Performance Series at New York University. With Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto, Schloss and Mitri were featured in the newstage festival at CCRMA, Stanford University in April 2006. In February 2007, they performed in New York again as part of the Electronic Music Foundation concert series. In August 2007, they were selected for inclusion in a new concert series called Jazz: The Second Century by Earshot Jazz in Seattle. The trio has also been featured in concerts in Cuba, during the Primavera en la Habana Electroacoustic Music Festival. In September 2009, they were featured in concert at Town Hall Seattle.
Review from the Winnipeg Free Press: "…The trio then took over, with an often stunning, mostly improvised array of Cuban Son, peppered by the extraordinary piano playing of Hilario Durán and one of the most remarkable displays of electronica ever heard at a New Music Festival–the "radio drum" of Schloss' which was used alone and ensemble."
Dr. Schloss is co-founder of Physiosonics, creating auditory displays for anesthesiologists and physicians. He is also co-founder of Fundamento Productions, which has released two classics of Cuban music: Ilú Añá: Sacred Music of Cuba, and ¡Afrocubanismo! In 1994 and 1996, he was the artistic director of the internationally acclaimed ¡Afrocubanismo! Festival at the Banff Centre for the Arts. A documentary film was made of the festival. In September 2001, Schloss was co-organizer of the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Havana, Cuba. In May 2005, he was the music chair of the NIME conference (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) at UBC in Vancouver. In 2011, he co-organized the 25th Anniversary celebration of the CEC (Communauté électroacoustique canadienne / Canadian Electroacoustic Community) in Victoria, BC.
In 2004, Schloss began work in the area of Public Art installations, collaborating with several other artists on major installations: Seattle City Hall (with Nobuho Nagasawa and Dale Stammen), and the Ballard Public Library and the Ballard Neighborhood Services Center (with Dale Stammen and Don Fels). In 2006, the Ballard Public Library won an American Institute of Architects award. His most recent collaboration with Nagasawa and Stammen was an installation at the Japan Society in New York in a show called Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York; it is an interactive sound and fiber-optic light sculpture called "Bodywaves." In 2009 he began a collaboaration with noted Seattle artist Buster Simpson, working on Instrument Implement in Walla Walla Washington, and after that, a revision of a piece called Brush with Illumination in False Creek, downtown Vancouver, which was completed for the opening of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. In 2011, "Bodywaves" was remounted in a group exhibition at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC from December-March 2012, called "The Value of Water: Sustaining a Green Planet." Collaborations with renowned sound artist Trimpin also began in 2004 and continue to this day, exploring the relationship between interactive public art and new interfaces for musical expression.
Click here for a detailed interview with cycling74 (creators of Max/MSP/jitter), or the Daniel Langlois Foundation's website.
Presentation at CCRMA, Stanford University, May 3, 2017: