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Ruth White


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Electronic composer and innovator Ruth White is considered among today’s most gifted arbiters of what is termed “the new music.” Formally educated in piano and composition (she has three degrees from Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Tech), Miss White discusses her work in her Southern California studio: “I do not have a formal classical electronic background— that is self-taught. In fact, I was careful not to study electronics with anyone. Because I have been working in recording for many years, I felt that there was a directness of approach that I wanted to develop which was totally missing from the electronic scene in classical music. ” How effectively her medium has conveyed her message may be judged by the critical comment awarded her own original electronic compositions.

Writing of “Seven Trumps From the Tarot Cards,” a completely electronic score reflecting her impressions of the occult, Donal Henahan commended Miss White in The New York Times for her “musical inventiveness and electronic sophistication.” From Paul Eberle in the Los Angeles Free Press: “Miss White has explored electronics to find a new instrumentation of voices for her compositions, and has conceived it as an extension of the music of the past,’ rather than a break from it, or-a renunciation.” “Pinions” was commissioned by dance choreographer Eugene Loring for the University of California. After the 1968 premiere, the Los Angeles Times commented: ” …a really exciting, organically musical, electronic score by Ruth White. Not only the soloists but all the participants seemed to draw heat from this score…”. “Flowers of Evil,” an electronic music setting for the poems of Baudelaire utilizing the human voice (her own) as an instrument, represents to Free Press critic Eberle, “.


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