Stuart Dempster is a native of Berkeley, California, and was born in 1936. Mr. Dempster studied at San Francisco State College receiving a BA in performance and an MA in composition. He served from 1962 to 1966 as principal trombone with the Oakland Symphony under Gerhard Samuel. During these years he also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory and at California State College at Hayward, and was a member of the Performing Group at Mills College.
In 1967, Mr. Dempster was a Creative Associate at the University of Buffalo. The following year he joined the faculty of the University of Washington, Seattle, a position he still holds. He has been a Fellow in the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois (1971-72) and a Fulbright Scholar in Australia (1973), where he studied the Aboriginal didjeridu. Mr. Dempster received a National Endowment for the Arts Composer Grant in 1978 and in 1979 a US/UK Fellowship to England. He is often a Master Teacher at the International Trombone Workshop in Nashville, Tennessee, and as a solo recitalist he has toured regularly throughout the United States and Europe. He has recorded on several labels including Columbia and Nonesuch.
Mr. Dempster is known mainly for his commissioning of new works for the trombone, and is a leading figure in searching out and performing older works for the trombone, particulary the American music of the turn of the century as exemplified by Arthur Pryor. During the European tour with Merce Cunningham in 1976, he recorded his own work for the album "In the Great Abby of Clement VI" (Pope's Palace, Avignon). This led him to solo performances of these recorded works plus "Standing Waves 1978", his work composed at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). His tours presently consist of his own work plus the commissioned works represented by composers such as Luciano Berio, Donald Erb, Robert Erickson, Andrew Inbrie, Ernst Krenek, and Robert Suderburg. His book "The Modern Trombone: A Definition of Its Idioms" was published by the University of California Press in 1979.
Mr. Dempster was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981. This continued work with resonance as well as allowed time for birth of "singing audience" pieces. Works such as "Hornfinder" (1982), premiered at Findhorn, Scotland, and "Roulette" (1983), premiered at New York's Roulette Space, led to a series of concerts in Seattle in 1983 where he recorded the tape "...On the Boards", featuring didjeridu and large singing audience. As a natural outgrowth, Dempster's interest in therapeutic music and the positive attributes of meditation and humor can be seen in "Didjeriatsu", "Acuhosery", and "Aura Fluff". These pieces appear in "Sound Massage Parlor"; well over fifty sessions of this were given during the 1986 premier, including seventeen in Houston at New Music America.
Stuart Dempster's website is located at http://faculty.washington.edu/dempster/.
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