Charles AmirkhanianTuesday, March 12, 2019
Charles Benjamin Amirkhanian (born January 19, 1945; Fresno, California) is an American composer. He is a percussionist, sound poet, and radio producer of Armenian extraction. He is mostly known for his electroacoustic and text-sound music. Performance artist Laurie Anderson praises his work: "The art of audio collage has been reinvented here... A brilliant sense of imaginary space."
Amirkhanian received his M.F.A. from Mills College in 1980, where he studied electronic music and techniques of sound recording. He was Music Director of Pacifica Radio's KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California from 1969 to 1992, and he was a lecturer at the University of San Francisco from 1977 to 1980. He co-directed the Telluride Institute's Composer to Composer festival in Telluride, Colorado between 1988 and 1991. Amirkhanian is the executive director and artistic director of the Other Minds Music Festival in San Francisco, which he co-founded with Jim Newman in 1992. He has played a key role in recording and championing the work of Conlon Nancarrow and George Antheil, among others.
In 1984, the American Music Center awarded him its Letter of Distinction for service to American composers through his work at KPFA FM in Berkeley, California. This was followed in 2005 by another for his co-founding and directing the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco, California. From ASCAP in 1989 he received the Deems Taylor Award, also for service to American composers. Amirkhanian received a 1997 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. In 2009, Chamber Music America and ASCAP honored him for his Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music with Other Minds.