bio

William Duckworth is a composer, performer, author and teacher whose work is known worldwide. He is the founder of Postminimalism and his Time Curve Preludes for piano define the style. Since their 1979 premiere, these preludes have been heard on five continents, from Armenia and The People's Republic of China to Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Spoleto USA, the Brisbane Powerhouse, the Auditorium of Rome, and the Festival of Havana, where they were broadcast in the streets. Today, remixes of the preludes can be found on YouTube.

In 1997, Duckworth and media artist and programmer Nora Farrell began Cathedral, the first interactive work of music and art on the web. The Cathedral Project features a rich-media website; new virtual instruments, including the PitchWeb; and the Cathedral Band, a worldwide collective that bridges the virtual and live worlds. Band performances have been webcast from Australia and Japan, as well as from a variety of locations in the U.S., including such New York City venues as Roulette, Galapagos, The Cutting Room, LaMaMa, the Winter Garden, and the Hiro Lounge at the Maritime Hotel. In 2001, the Cathedral Project mounted a continuous 48-hour webcast, streaming 34 performances live from 5 continents. The New York Times called the event a fabulous idea; Time Out New York said Wow. Visitors to the Cathedral site now exceed five million, and the development of the project is chronicled in Virtual Music: How the Web Got Wired for Sound (Duckworth: Routledge, 2005).

Duckworth and Farrell’s second project, an iPod opera based on the Orpheus myth, explores space, scale, memory, and echo through a 2-year unfolding of video podcasts and stage performances, culminating in a public opera, iOrpheus, staged in the streets and promenades of the South Bank Parklands in Brisbane, Australia (31 August 2007).

Born in North Carolina in 1943, Duckworth studied at the University of Illinois with microtonal composer Ben Johnston, himself a student of John Cage and Harry Partch. His first appearance in Europe was at the 1984 Pro Musica Nova festival in Germany. He has also recorded with the Electric Phoenix in London, given master classes in Rome, played the mobile PitchWeb in Tokyo, and participated in the composition forum at Darmstadt.

Duckworth taught at Bucknell University from 1973 to 2011. In addition to numerous teaching awards—Rolling Stone magazine called his teaching hip, bright, and innovative,—Duckworth’s honors include four NEA and NEH fellowships, the 2001 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Internet Award, the 2002 Award in Music from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and a Senior Fulbright Specialist Award in Information Technology to Australia in 2007. He was also a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2006, as well as the 2007 Inaugural Creative Arts Fellow for South Bank Precinct, Brisbane.

Duckworth and Farrell returned to Australia in June 2009 to inaugurate a multi-year project titled Sonic Babylon, an art project planting gardens of sound around the world; invisible gardens hanging in the air and heard on mobile devices when visitors pass through. These gardens include the first permanent sound garden in Australia at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, which opened during Sound Day 2009.