Charles Amirkhanian 




Ka Himeni Hehena english

Dumbek Bookache english

Dutiful Ducks english

Translations: de

to poem


Hypothetical Moments (in the Intellectual Life of Southern California) english

Translations: de

to poem

Hypothetical Moments (in the Intellectual Life of Southern California) [studio composition] english

Translations: de

to poem

Church Car english

Translations: de

to poem

Charles Amirkhanian 

photo ©
* 19.01.1945, Fresno, California, United States
lives in: El Cerrito, California, United States

Born January 19, 1945, in Fresno, California, composer, percussionist, sound poet and radio producer Charles Amirkhanian is a leading practitioner of electroacoustic music and text-sound composition. He is widely known for his live and taped works utilizing speech (or sound poetry) elements in rhythmic patterns resembling percussion music.

Some of his works have been commissioned by the West German Radio (Cologne), the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio VPRO (Netherlands), Swedish Radio/Fylkingen, the 1984 Summer Olympics, Radio Luxembourg, the Arch Ensemble, and choreographers Anna Halprin, Bill T. Jones, Margaret Fisher, Nancy Karp, and Richard Alston of Ballet Rambert (London).

 photo ©
Aside from his composing, Amirkhanian has been instrumental in the dissemination of contemporary music through his work as Music Director of KPFA/Berkeley from 1969 to 1992. He also directed the “Speaking of Music” series at the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1983-1992) and was the founding Co-Director, with John Lifton, of the Composer-to-Composer Festival in Telluride, Colorado that took place for four years (1988-91). From 1993-1997 Amirkhanian served as Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California.

Currently he is Executive & Artistic Director of Other Minds, Inc., a new music organization in San Francisco. He has curated the annual “Other Minds Festival of music” since 1993 and in 2002 inaugurated “Eyes & Ears”, the Other Minds Film Festival, focusing on contemporary composers and innovative soundtracks.

In 1984 the American Music Center honored him with its annual Letter of Distinction for service to American composers through his work at KFPA Radio. In 1997 he was awarded residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. In 1999-2000 he was awarded the first Ella Holbrook Walker Fellowship for a yearlong residency at the Bellagio Center where, with Mark Grey, he installed and composed in a new electroacoustic music studio which will remain for future residents of the center.

Amirkhanian resides in El Cerrito, California.

  • Dzarin Bess Ga Khorim

    Text-Sound Compositions/A Stockholm Festival

    [CD] Fylkingen Records FYCD 1024: 1-5

    Fylkingen Records, 1972

  • Lexical Music

    LP/album [reissued on CD in 2017]

    1750 Arch Records [record label], 1980

  • Gold and Spirit

    Starkland Records ST-206, 1984

  • Walking Tune

    (Portrait of Percy Grainger, 1986-7)

    Starkland Records ST-206, 1986

  • Politics As Usual (1988)


    Centaur CRC 2194, 1988

  • Never Say Die

    (Portrait of Nicolas Slonimsky, 1989)

    “Music for Swimming across the Pacific”


  • Bajanoom

    [CD] empreintes DIGITALes IMED-9004-CD, “Électro Clips”. Starkland Records ST-206

    Montréal, Quebec, Canada : Starkland Records, 1990

  • Vers les Anges (1990)

    Starkland Records ST-206, 1990

  • Pas de Voix

    (Portrait of Samuel Beckett, 1986-7)

    Perspectives of New Music (Non-commercial CD issued with PNM Journal 26); Ars Acustica-EBU Selection

    PNM Journal 26; European Broadcast Union, 1991

  • Chu Lu Lu

    [CD] Starkland Records ST-206

    Montréal, Quebec, Canada: Starkland Records, 1992

  • Hypothetical Moments

    (in the Intellectual Life of Southern California, 1981)

    A Critical Journal on the Arts in Baltimore and the World, Issue #5, Fall 2000


  • Heavy Aspirations

    (Portrait of Nicolas Slonimsky, 1973)

    “10 + 2: 12 American Text-Sound Pieces”

    Other Minds OM 1006-2, 2003, 2003

  • Just (1972)

    “10 + 2: 12 American Text-Sound Pieces”

    Other Minds OM 1006-2, 2003

  • Mqsical Lou

    (In Memoriam Lou Harrison, 2003)

    “Messiah Remix”

    Cantaloupe Records, 2004

  • Dot Set (1984)

    Nancy Karp + Dancers—Four Dances: The Music (2005)


  • 2017 Champion of New Music Award (ACF)

  • (en)

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