Los Angeles, May 14 -- Steven Lavine, President of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) will confer honorary Doctor of Arts degrees to educator/musician William M. Lowman and sound artist/composer Trimpin. Within their areas of expertise, both recipients have made extraordinary contributions to contemporary arts and culture. They will be awarded their degrees during CalArts commencement ceremony on
Friday, May 21, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.
William (Bill) M. Lowman is a distinguished educator, administrator, musician, patron of the arts, and longtime president and headmaster of Idyllwild Arts Academy (Idyllwild, California) the only independent boarding school for the arts on the West Coast, and the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. Lowman, a Las Vegas native, took the helm of Idyllwild in 1985, just two years after the Idyllwild Arts Foundation took over ownership and operation of the school from the University of Southern California. His early successes as President include strengthening the board of trustees, restoring the school's financial stability and establishing Idyllwild as a standard-bearer for secondary school arts education and summer arts programs.
During Lowman's tenure, the Idyllwild Arts Foundation's annual budget jumped from $800,000 to $15 million while the academy's student population increased from 80 to nearly 300, and full-time staff from 15 to more than 100. Idyllwild partners with CalArts and the Dartington Hall Trust, based in Devon, England, in the Transatlantic Arts Consortium (TAC). The consortium commissions original artworks and helps young artists build pathways for sustaining careers in the arts. Lowman is scheduled to retire as president of Idyllwild next summer.
Trimpin is a Seattle-based sound artist, composer, inventor, engineer and kinetic sculptor whose delightful musical "contraptions" are often controlled by computers. Originally from southwestern Germany, he studied at the Humboldt University in Berlin before moving to the United States in 1980. Among his very many eccentric musical instruments are a six-story xylophone installed in a spiral staircase, a fire organ, a tornado-shaped column of guitars, and a MIDI-controlled player piano ensemble (performing music by American experimental composer Conlon Nancarrow that is considered unplayable by humans).
The musical technology pioneer was the subject of a 2009 documentary by Peter Esmonde entitled Trimpin: The Sound of Invention, which has screened to great acclaim at venues worldwide. The artist has been a mentor to many music innovators including CalArts faculty member Ajay Kapur, director of the Program in Music Technology. Recently, Trimpin, Kapur and the School of Theater's Michael Darling collaborated to design robotic instruments employed in live performance by Kapur's KarmetiK Machine Orchestra, on campus and at REDCAT.
Trimpin is a recipient of numerous honors, including a 1997 MacArthur Fellowship. His works are in permanent collection at the Experience Music Project in Seattle and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
CalArts is the United States first art institute to offer BFAs and MFAs in both the visual and performing arts. The institute is dedicated to training and nurturing the next generation of professional artists, fostering brilliance and innovation within the broadest context possible.
Emphasis is placed on new and experimental work, and students are admitted solely on the basis of artistic ability. To encourage interdisciplinary innovation and experimentation, CalArts' six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater—are all housed under one roof. The structure itself is a unique five-story building with the equivalent of 11 acres of square footage in Valencia, California located just 30 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles.