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Composer Clarence Barlow has Died, Aged 77

Barlow, who studied with Zimmermann and Stockhausen, was a pioneer of twentieth-century computer music


Composer Clarence Barlow, who was a pioneer in the field of electroacoustic and computer music, has passed away aged 77.

Barlow was born in Calcutta and was of English, Portuguese, and French colonial descent. As a child, he learned the piano but chose to pursue the sciences when he left school and received a science degree from Calcutta University in 1965.

He then studied composition with two leading figures, Bernd Alois Zimmermann (from 1968 to 1970) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (from 1971 to 1973).

Barlow was an influential teacher at the famed Darmstadt Summer Courses between 1982 and 1994 and also gave twenty years of service as Lecturer in Computer Music at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. He also spent four years as Artistic Director of the Institute of Sonology at The Hague's Royal Conservatoire, and twelve years as Professor of Composition and Sonology in the same institution.

Barlow was the composer of more than 100 works, which included four orchestral pieces, forty chamber works, thirty piano works, and twenty electroacoustic works.

"With great sadness we report the death of Clarence Barlow (1945-2023) from the results of injuries suffered in a fall in April of this year," wrote the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague in a statement. "Before taking up a professorship at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006, Clarence had been on the faculty of the Institute of Sonology since 1990, together with a position at the Composition department from 1994."

"His unique courses under the title MusiQuantics were an inspiration to a generation of students at both departments, along with his genial and warm-hearted presence, his often outrageous wit, and his dedication to innovative musical thinking both in his own work and that of his students."

Our condolences to Mr. Barlow's family, friends, students, and colleagues.

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