Todd Barton: Biography
After four decades of exploration Todd Barton is still delving deeply into the ever-expanding frontiers of musical expression: from his DNA derived Genome Music to his innovative scores for plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; from performances of Zen Shakuhachi Meditation Music to avant-garde music for electronic synthesizers and computers; from performing with luminaries of jazz and poetry to lecturing on music and composition from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century.
Todd Barton is the Resident Composer and Music Director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is also the Director of Composition Studies for the Music Department at Southern Oregon University. Todd is also a member of the multimedia performance art ensemble, sonoluminescence.
His compositions have been performed by the KRONOS Quartet, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, the Shasta Taiko, and the Rogue Valley Symphony to name a few.
Barton has received numerous awards for his theater music including the ASCAP Award for Popular Music, Dramalogue Critics Award, and the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award. He recently received a Jeff Award Nomination in Chicago for his original score to The Oedipus Complex.
His music has been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, Westcoast Live, and the Curve of Wonder.
His Genome Music has been heard and exhibited at the Smithsonian Insitute, the Carnegie Insitiute of Biological Research at Stanford University, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Graduate Art Gallery at CUNY (NY) as well as mentioned in articles for the Washington Post, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, The Economist and Wired.
Todd has been composing music at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival since Angus Bowmer hired him in 1969. He has composed music for the entire canon of Shakespeare's plays twice as well as music for over a hundred classical and contemporary theatrical productions.
Besides the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Todd has created scores for the Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Folger Theatre and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Berekeley Rep, ACT and Intiman in Seattle, ACT in San Francisco, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
Todd's scores last season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival included The Tempest, The Cherry Orchard and Taming of the Shrew. Next season Todd will create music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coriolanus and Our Town.
Todd continues to study zen shakuhachi meditation music which he began in 1989. He has recorded four albums: Tai Chi Shakuhachi, Mountain Ghost Breathing, Shakuhachi Ma, and Ro. His teachers include John Singer, John Kaizan Neptune, Matsumura Homei, Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin and Philiip Gelb. Some of Todd's shakuhachi music can be heard online at and purchased at garageband.com/artist/shakuhachi.
Since 1979 Todd has been exploring electronic systhesis and computer-based music. His most acclaimed album is "metascapes." Selections are available online at garageband.com/artist/metascape. This album features the visual music program Metasynth which allows the composer to "paint" on a computer screen and hear the painting as music and/or sound.
Todd's current explorations into analog synthesis can be heard live with the multimedia performance art ensemble, sonoluminescence. Sonoluminescence is five creative artists improvising together in an experimental environment to explore the boundaries of time, light, sound and space.
Over the years Todd has been collaborated with a variety of jazz musicians and poets including Anthony Braxton, Zakir Hussein, William Stafford, Ursula K. Le Guin and Lawson Fusao Inada.
He has done multimedia and dance works with Suzee Grilley, Miles Inada, and Ursula Le Guin.
As a lecturer on topics ranging from the Symbolism of Muiscal Notation of the Middle Ages, Renaissance Philosophy and Muisc, to Music for the Theatre, Music and the Human Genome and Visual Music, Todd has been guest lecturer at the Smithsonian Institute, CalArts, Future Music Oregon, University of the Pacific, Cornish College of the Art, Seattle University, et al.