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John Celona: Biography

John Celona
1947 -
Region: British Columbia

John Celona

JOHN CELONA's music is noted for its spatial imaging, timbral orchestration, texture/density, real-time computer music, performance/composition, emotion and eclecticism which includes new music, avant-garde jazz, popular and World musics.

John Celona, born in San Francisco in 1947, studied music composition at San Francisco State University (B. Mus., M.A.), University of Pittsburgh (Mellon Fellow), Indiana University and University of California, San Diego (Ph. D.). His teachers include Henry Onderdonk, Iannis Xenakis and Kenneth Gaburo. In addition to his composition studies, he played tenor saxophone and directed/founded jazz and improvisation ensembles including the Networks Orchestra.

In 1971, he was awarded first prize in the BMI Awards in New York. By 1972, he was using computers at the Centre for Music Experiment (UCSD) to create and control spatial and timbral sound compositions. In 1977, he came to the University of Victoria where he is head of the composition programme. At Victoria, he has conducted the new music ensemble Sonic Lab in performances of Webern, Stockhausen, Cage, Varèse, Lucier, Rzewski, Babbitt and many others.

John Celona's work in the electroacoustic field has led to performances in 20 countries and includes a 1985 first prize award in the Bourges Electroacoustic Competition for Possible Orchestras (at the 21st Harmonic). His music is recorded on Folkways (Music in Circular Motions), Radio Canada International (Cordes de Nuit) and Miramar Records (To Drive in LA with Salvador Ferreras, percussion).

In the last decade, John Celona's music was performed at many major festivals and conferences. He has held commissions from the NY Meet The Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, The Canada Council, Vancouver New Music Society, Days Months Years To Come (Vancouver), Toronto's Arraymusic (twice) and Sound Pressure Ensemble, and percussionist Salvador Ferreras for the music of the album To Drive in L.A. which earned Mr. Ferreras the 1988 Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Award for 'Best Classical Performer'. John Celona is a member of the Canadian League of Composers, an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre and a founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community.

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