Photo: Richard performing Tranzducer at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY March 2009. Photo: Paul Undersinger. Below: Richard Lainhart.

Lainhart was one of the seminal figures in contemporary American electronic music, composing more than 150 works over the course of nearly four decades. His distinctive sound was characterized by organic textures inspired by natural phenomena, such as clouds, water and fire, typically arranged in minimalist structures and treated with microscopically observed harmonies. These explorations dated to the early 1970s and pre-figured the electronica, ambient, trance and other sound art movements that would eventually celebrate him as an aesthetic figurehead.

Originally from Vestal, NY, Lainhart earned his degree in music from the State University at New York at Albany, where he studied composition and electronic music with composer Joel Chadabe. Besides his own works, he worked and performed with such new music luminaries as John Cage, David Tudor, Steve Reich, Phill Niblock, Rhys Chatham and Jordan Rudess, among many others.

Lainhart's work was performed in the US, England, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Italy and Japan, and recordings of his music have appeared on the Periodic Music, Vacant Lot, XI Records, ExOvo, Airglow and Periphery music labels.

In addition to his music, Lainhart's animations and short films premiered at digital festivals throughout the world. His film "A Haiku Setting" won several awards at the 2002 International Festival of Cinema and Technology in Toronto. In 2009, he was awarded a grant by the New York State Council on the Arts for "No Other Time," a full-length intermedia performance designed for a large reverberant space. In 2010, he was a featured media artist at Netmage in Bologna, Italy, and his year-long timescape film "One Year" was awarded Best Experimental Film at HDFEST in Portland, OR.

Recommended: Listen on headphones or external speakers.

Listen to KALW Radio Interview

In this 11-minute radio interview with Jason Lopez on "Don Giovanni Overdrive", Richard discusses the music and methods of his XI release "Ten Thousand Shades Of Blue." The broadcast was in January 2002 on KALW in San Francisco. Jason played the pieces at full length on his show, but Richard edited them down to short excerpts here for easier listening.

"I spend a lot of time making my sounds, because that's really what the pieces are about." — RL