Del Mar composer named UC’s ‘University Professor’



Roger Reynolds, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and professor of music at UCSD, has been appointed University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents.

Reynolds, a Del Mar resident, is only the 36th UC faculty member since 1960 to be honored with the title, and the first artist.

“We congratulate Professor Reynolds on his latest distinction,” UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said. “This designation is the highest honor that can be bestowed on UC faculty, and we are very proud and fortunate that this world-renowned composer and scholar is a member of the UC San Diego faculty.”

Reynolds joined the UCSD Department of Music in 1969. He became founding director of the Center for Music Experiment (now known as the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, or CRCA), UC’s earliest organized research unit in the arts, in 1972.

Reynolds was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1989 for “Whispers Out of Time,” for string orchestra, and incorporating quotes from Beethoven and Mahler. He is credited with being the second experimentalist, after Charles Ives in 1947, to win the prestigious prize.

Among the first American composers to make significant use of science and new technology, Reynolds continues to work at the cutting edge: In 1998, Mode Records released Reynolds’ “Watershed,” the first DVD in Dolby Digital 5.1 to feature music composed expressly for five independent channels of audio. He is also currently serving as the first composer in residence at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), where he is concentrating on “Sanctuary” and its malleable control of computer sound processing during performance. Premiered at I. M. Pei’s East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, it is scored for percussion ensemble and real-time computer processing and spatialization. “Sanctuary” is scheduled for DVD release on Mode Records this winter.

In 1998, the Library of Congress recognized Reynolds’ unique contributions to culture by establishing the Roger Reynolds Special Collection.

Reynolds has written four books, beginning with “Mind Models: New Forms of Musical Experience” (1975). His articles have appeared in Asian, American and European journals, and his music is published exclusively by C. F. Peters Corp., New York.

Reynolds has served as resident composer at numerous international festivals, and he holds master classes around the world.

Before beginning his career as a composer, Reynolds studied engineering physics at the University of Michigan and worked briefly as a systems development engineer in the defense industry. After earning his master’s degree in musical composition in 1962 from Michigan, Reynolds and his wife, Karen, began a seven-year migration through international hotbeds of today’s contemporary music – Germany, France, England and Italy, ending up in Japan. In 1969, he was lured from Tokyo to a tenured position on the fledgling UCSD faculty.