Phil Winsor

Phil Winsor (1938–2012) was an American composer, intermedia artist, photographer, educator and author, one of the pioneers in computer composition. He received degrees from Wesleyan University and San Francisco State University and completed post-graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. Phil was one of the early Downtown-style electronics composers at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. For doctoral studies, Phil Winsor went to the University Of Illinois.

From 1968 to 1982, Phil Winsor lived in Chicago where he collaborated extensively with a filmmaker Tom Palazzolo and worked as a resident composer and musical director at the Chicago Contemporary Dance Theater. Winsor was a professor and a director of the Electronic Music Studio at DePaul University. In 1980, Phil Winsor co-founded a short-lived radical performing group Chicago Interarts Ministry with Peter Gena and Kyle Gann. Winsor also participated in the New Music America festival in 1982. During his Chicagoan years, the composer received two National Endowment For The Arts fellowships and a Ford Foundation for Electronic Music Fellowship.

Winsor joined the faculty at the University Of North Texas in 1982 and became a co-director of the Center For Experimental Music And Intermedia, University Of North Texas, Denton (CEMI) with Larry Austin (he became a sole director in 1991–93). At the time, CEMI members still actively utilized analog equipment, such as Moog 3 (inherited from Merrill Ellis) and ARP 2600 synthesizers, but the most advanced research was associated with a digital New England Digital Synclavier. The composers had access to the computer science department's VAX-11/780 minicomputer through VT-52 and VT-100 terminals, and Synclavier (with a built-in computer and LAN interface) allowed hearing the output from C programs they wrote. Phil Winsor purchased state-of-the-art PC with 2.77 MHz processor and 640k RAM-memory and started writing BASIC programs for the Synclavier. Eventually he wrote several books on algorithmic composition and computer music, including Computer Music in C co-authored with Gene DeLisa in 1988.

In the late eighties and early nineties, Phil Winsor traveled to Taiwan, where he received three Computer Music Research Grants by the National Science Council of the Republic of China and developed the first Computer Music Technology graduate program at the National Chiao Tung University. He gave one-man shows of his Luce Libera Series in Kaohsiung and Taipei in 1991 and exhibited photographs at the Sun Gat Gallery and other galleries in Taipei.

On the last photo: Phil Winsor (in the back) posing with Larry Austin and Synclavier for the promotional CEMI photo-shoot in the 1980s