MEET THE ARTBURST WRITERS: DANIEL DICKINSON
Arts audiences may be accustomed to experimental works in visual arts and dance, but when it comes to music, acceptance of and understanding it still leaves folks perplexed. At least that’s what experimental musician Dan Dickinson thinks.
“I think the art-going public is very accustomed to boundary-stretching visual art and dance, but they may not be as aware of similar goings-on in music,” Dickinson says.
He hopes to change that through his articles for Artburst. It’s a challenge for him, given he’s covered the subject in academic publications but not for a general arts audience. He has a doctorate degree in composition from the University of Miami and teaches physical computing in their School of Communication’s Interactive Media Program.
His lifelong passion for the arts should power him through any challenges, especially given he’s enjoyed playing the piano and drawing since he was a child. His mother was a classical singer so music was prominent throughout his childhood. Visits to his grandfather’s house in Arkansas meant listening to American songbook standards played on a Hammond organ that his grandfather rescued from a fire and rebuilt. His uncle would join in on guitar and they would have big family sing-alongs.
“I always enjoyed those visits to Arkansas. Then when I was in my early 20s I finally listened to Charles Mingus and Sun Ra and that launched me on my current path,” Dickinson remembers.
He now composes music for classical and electronic ensembles and and plays double bass, where he especially likes the free-form improvisation. He also plays in a group called Unbound and is working on interactive multi-media projects that involve homemade electronics.
“I’m very interested in natural sound and the way that big rich sonic textures are created from very small sources, like crickets or the rubbing together of two leaves,” he says.
His work with experimental music makes his work with Artburst rewarding because he “feels privileged to have a forum to help people understand it, and hopefully pique their interest enough to where they might come check out some performances.”