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Niblock, Phill

is an intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video, and computers. He makes thick, loud drones of music, filled with microtones of instrumental timbres that generate many other tones in the performance space. Simultaneously, he presents films / videos which look at the movement of people working, or computer-driven black and white abstract images floating through time.

He was born in Indiana in 1933. Since the mid-1960s he has been making music and intermedia performances that have been shown at numerous venues around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, The Kitchen, Paris Autumn Festival Palais des BeauxArts in Brussels, Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Akademie der Künste in Berlin, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard, World Music Institute at Merkin Hall, New York City. Since 1985, he has been the director of the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York where he has been an artist/member since 1968. He is the producer of Music and Intermedia presentations at EI since 1973 (about 1000 performances) and the curator of EI’s XI Records label. In 1993 he was part of the formation of an Experimental Intermedia organization in Ghent, which supports an artist-in-residence house and installations.

In 2014, he was the recipient of the John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Phill Niblock’s music is available on the XI, Moikai, Mode and Touch labels. A previous DVD of films and music is available on the Extreme label.


Major works (since 1995): Descent Plus for cello (1978, rev. 1995), Guitar Too, for Four. Version Three for guitars played with e-bows (1996), Disseminate for orchestra (1998), Hurdy Hurry for hurdy-gurdy (1999), Kontradictionaries for contrabass saxophone, contrabass flute and contrabass tuba (2000, rev. 2003), Yam Almost May for bass guitar played with e-bow and bowed (2001), Pan Fried 11, 27.5 and 70 for piano (three compositions, 2001–3), Sea Jelly Yellow for baritone saxophone (2001), Sweet Potato for bass clarinet, basset horn and clarinet in E(2001), EZAZ for ensemble (2002), Harm for cello (2003), Sethwork for unamplified guitar played with e-bow (2003), Lucid Sea for recorders (2003), Three Orchids for three orchestras (2003), Not Yet Titled for trumpet (2003), Parker’s Altered Mood (Owed to Bird) for alto saxophone (2004), Zrost for soprano saxophone (2004), Alto Tune for alto saxophone (2004), Sax Mix for alto, tenor and baritone saxophones (2004), Valence for viola (2005), Tow by Tom for two orchestras (2005), Universe Premier for alto saxophone (2005), Nataliawork for bass flute and voice (2005), Stosspeng for two electric guitars (2007), 4 Chorch +1 for baritone, choir and orchestra (2007), Organ for organ (2007), One Large Rose for orchestra (2008), AshEli for soprano saxophone and bowed crotales (2008), Poure for cello (2008), Valence Long for viola (2008, modified version of earlier Valence), One Blue Rose for orchestra (2009), 2 Lips (Nameless) for two orchestras (2009), Baobab for orchestra (2011), N+M for piano with video projection (2011), Nomis for glass bowls hit with soft mallets and video projection (2011), To Two Tea Roses for orchestra (2012), FeedCorn Ear for cello (2012), A Cage of Stars for electronic harp (2012), Baobab Light, the Dwarf Version for orchestra (2012), Vlada BC for viola d’amore (2013), Euph for two-bell euphonium (2013), Unipolar Dance for two violins and two violas (2013), Bag for bagpipe (2014), #9 (Number Nine) for orchestra (2014), Surge for Serge synthesiser (2014), A Rooks Pun for soprano saxophone (2014), Ronet for tenor saxophone (2014), Octavio Perc for percussion (2014), Baobab Zink for orchestra and brass quartet (2011/2014), Three Petals for orchestras (2014); films, including the series The Movement of People Working