Ingram Marshall, a minimalist composer recognized for the thriller and melancholy of his works, which featured sounds as disparate as San Francisco fog horns and Balinese bamboo flutes, died on May 31 in New Haven, Conn. He was 80.
His spouse, (*80*) Tomasic, mentioned the trigger was problems of Parkinson’s illness.
Mr. Marshall was an influential determine in American experimental music, half of a bunch of composers who, starting within the Nineteen Sixties, stripped music all the way down to primary components of rhythm and tempo and integrated digital sounds. A self-described “expressivist,” he was recognized for haunting, mystical works that fused numerous traditions, amongst them European Romanticism, Indonesian gamelan and electronics.
“His music was very emotional, but not in a saccharine, neo-Romantic way,” the composer John Adams, a longtime pal, mentioned in an interview. “It was his own very unique, very sentimental style, but sentimental in the very best sense of the word.”
An admirer of Romantic-era composers like Sibelius and Bruckner, Mr. Marshall had a deep information of the Western classical canon that knowledgeable his fashion, at the same time as he veered in new instructions.
“He was not afraid of being very direct and expressive,” mentioned Libby Van Cleve, an oboist who directs the Yale oral historical past undertaking and for whom Mr. Marshall wrote three items. “His biggest impact was just having the courage to write such deeply heartfelt and expressive music in the electronic realm.”
Ingram Douglass Marshall was born on May 10, 1942, in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in Westchester County, to Harry Reinhard Marshall Sr., a banker, and Bernice (Douglass) Marshall, an beginner pianist.
At the encouragement of his mom, he started singing at a younger age and joined a church choir. His curiosity in music deepened, and in 1964 he graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in music from Lake Forest College in Illinois. He later attended Columbia University after which the California Institute of the Arts, the place he obtained a Master of Fine Arts diploma in 1971 and taught courses in digital music.
While at the California Institute, he met a number of Indonesian performers and have become entranced by their music. Intent on immersing himself in Indonesia’s sounds, he secured a Fulbright grant and traveled to the nation for 4 months in 1971.
The go to was a turning level. He quickly started incorporating into his music components of Indonesian tradition, together with the gambuh, a conventional Balinese flute. He adopted a extra unhurried fashion, a growth he attributed to his immersion in Indonesian music.
“I realized that the ‘zip-and-zap, bleep-and-blap’ kind of formally organized electronic music I had been trying to do simply wasn’t my way,” Mr. Marshall mentioned within the Yale interview, talking about his expertise in Indonesia. “I needed to find a slower, deeper way of approaching electronic music.”
In 1981, he produced one of his best-known works, “Fog Tropes,” a somber meditation that paired discipline recordings of foghorns within the San Francisco Bay Area with brass devices.
“A lot of people are reminded of San Francisco when they hear this piece, but not I,” Mr. Marshall as soon as mentioned. “To me it is just about fog, and being lost in the fog. The brass players should sound as if they were off in a raft floating in the middle of a mist-enshrouded bay.”
Mr. Marshall’s admirers lauded the religious high quality of his works. Some drew comparisons to the so-called holy minimalists of Eastern Europe, together with the outstanding Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.
“True, he does not write explicitly liturgical music, nor does he cultivate any priestly airs,” Adam Shatz wrote in a 2001 article about on Mr. Marshall in The New York Times. “But his music is some of the most stirring spiritual art to be found in America today.”
The composer Steve Reich, one other pal, mentioned the thriller in Mr. Marshall’s work made it distinct. He described the music as a combination of American spirituality, “impenetrable, mysterious Northern fog and mist,” and gamelan.
“Ingram can’t be pinned down so easily,” Mr. Reich mentioned in an interview. “It’s not just minimalism, or whatever other moniker you want to put onto it, but it’s radiantly intelligent and beautiful.”
After greater than 15 years in California, Mr. Marshall returned to the East Coast in 1990, settling in Hamden, Conn., outdoors New Haven. He continued to compose and educate, serving as a part-time lecturer at the Yale School of Music from 2004 to 2014.
Along together with his spouse, Mr. Marshall is survived by a son, Clement; a daughter from a earlier relationship, Juliet Simon; and 4 grandchildren.
While he was not spiritual, Mr. Marshall generally spoke in regards to the religious energy of music. He mentioned he hoped that after disasters, artists may assist deliver understanding to the world.
“Composers, poets and artists always feel useless in the wake of calamity,” he advised The Times in 2001. “We are not firemen; we are not philanthropists or inspirational speakers. But I think it is the tragic and calamitous in life that we try to make sense of, and this is the stuff of our lives as artists.”