Get Barton McLean essential facts below. View Videos or join the Barton McLean discussion. Add Barton McLean to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Barton McLean (born 8 April 1938) is an American composer, performer, music reviewer, and writer
Barton McLean setting up bicycle wheel
Barton McLean in performance
Barton McLean was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of John and Grace McLean, on April 8, 1938. He graduated from State University of New York (SUNY) Potsdam (BS 1960), Eastman School of Music (MM 1965), where he was a student of Henry Cowell, and Indiana University (DMA 1972). He taught music theory and double bass at SUNY (1960-66), while performing on double bass in jazz groups and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1969-76 he taught music composition and theory at Indiana University South Bend. From 1969-76 he directed the Electronic Music Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1967 he married fellow composer Priscilla Taylor, and by 1974 they began professional touring as The McLean Mix, presenting their electro-acoustic music, which became a full-time occupation by 1983.
He created a series of solo instrument and stereo tape pieces, best known of which is Dimensions II (1974), championed by pianist David Burge, who performed it extensively for several years. Another extensively performed set in this series, Dimensions III and IV for saxophone and stereo tape (1979)  was premiered by Albert Regni in concert at the University of Texas at Austin on November 15, 1979, and recorded by Regni on CRI Records in 1980, and is still actively performed today.
Created with a National Endowment for the Arts Composer Grant, McLean's Song of the Nahuatl, an electronic composition for eight channels of sound, was premiered at the University of Miami on March 24, 1978.The Electric Sinfonia, an electronic work which uses a 16-tone octave scale, won an award at the International Bourges, France Electro-acoustic Music Festival in June 1983. Along with many electronic works composed over the years, Barton McLean also developed the concept of the audience interacting intricately with instruments and live electronics in several installations.
McLean's music is often based upon processes and sounds of the natural world, while using current electronic and recording technology. The result is considered to have both primitive and sophisticated elements. Barton McLean's signature work is the audience-interactive installation RAINFOREST created in collaboration with wife and composer Priscilla McLean. It was staged and performed extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia from 1989 until 2013. In a darkened room a taped drone of recorded and synthesizer sounds and continuous projections of rainforest images provided an atmosphere in which members of the public were invited to perform vocally with microphones and on electronic and acoustic instruments.
In 1994, McLean was awarded a New York State Council for the Arts grant to create an installation with a nostalgic Ray Bradbury feel, portraying the ancestors of the tiny village of Petersburgh, New York. Using blown-up photographs and stations set up with recorded speaking voices, instruments, and electronic sounds, Forgotten Shadows was premiered in the Veterans Memorial Hall, Petersburgh, on Oct. 14, 1994. The music was made into a recording that is unique to McLean's style. A new direction in McLean's composing using a computer program written in Cycling '74 software Max/MSP allowed for the creation of Magic at Xanadu (MAX), inspired by the Coleridge poem "Kubla Khan" and performed live on keyboards and computer by Barton McLean. Magic at Xanadu (MAX) was recorded at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland, Michigan in 2008 and became a feature of The McLean Mix tours through 2010. Currently, McLean is composing with and developing concepts on the Kyma system provided by Symbolic Sound.
The McLean Mix performed from 1974 to 2013, presenting their separate works and collaborations across the USA and internationally; in these concerts he played the piano or synthesizer, plus woodwinds, amplified bicycle wheel, invented instruments, percussion, and digital processors.
The McLeans live in Petersburgh, New York.
1975-95 fifty five Meet the Composer Grants from MTC New York, New England, Midwest, Mid-America, Texas, West, and California during McLean Mix touring