Electroacoustic pioneer Donald Erb, a composer that helped promote the acceptance of electronic music, died Aug 12th at his home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He was 81.
Erb’s Reconnaissance, one of the first chamber works for live synthesizer and acoustic instruments, premiered in New York in 1967 with Robert Moog on synthesizer. A more recent work, The Seventh Trumpet, has had more than 200 performances by more than 50 orchestras in the United States and overseas. It incorporates synthesizer, along with non-traditional instruments such as water-filled jugs and wine glasses.
Donald Erb is Distinguished Professor of Composition, Emeritus, at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He receved his B.S.from Kent State University, his M.M.from The Cleveland Institute of Music, and his D.M.from Indiana University.
One of the most performed American-born composers, he has been featured conductor, composer, and lecturer at over 100 universities and colleges throughout the United States. Erb’s compositions have been presented by the symphony orchestras of Boston, Dallas, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Atlanta, Seattle, Spokane, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New York; New World Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestra (Washington D.C.), as well as many orchestras abroad.
He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Kulas, Koussevitsky, Fromm, Aaron Copland and Ford Foundations. Erb served as Composer-in-Residence with the Dallas and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras, and recently completed a quarter as resident composer at the American Academy in Rome and a term as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
His works are recorded on Columbia, Nonesuch, CRI, New World, Albany and Vox Turnabout labels. Faculty appointments have included Southern Methodist University and Indiana University.
He was appointed to the CIM faculty in 1952; reappointed as Composer-in-Residence, 1966; Distinguished Visiting Artist, 1986; Distinguished Professor of Composition, 1987.