Lois V Vierk from Lansing, Illinois, in suburban Chicago, was born in 1951. She has spent most of her career in New York City. She has also been active in Europe and Asia, and her music has been presented in Portrait Concerts at German Radio Cologne and in Switzerland.
Among the many performers and presenters who have commissioned her music are pianists Ursula Oppens, Frederic Rzewski, Claudia Rüegg, Margaret Leng Tan, Aki Takahashi, accordionist Guy Klucevsek, the Kronos Quartet, Lincoln Center Festival, Bang on a Can Festival, Ensemble Modern, Music from Japan. Co-creations with tap-dance choreographer Anita Feldman have been performed at major dance and music venues. Modern dance choreographers Elise Monte and Karole Armitage have choreographed new dances to Vierk's music and have presented them recently in concerts in New York City, Chicago and elsewhere. Filmmaker Holly Fisher has spotlighted Vierk’s music in the feature length film Everywhere At Once and in other films.
Ms. Vierk has composed for many types of performing forces, from solo piano (Yeah Yeah Yeah; To Stare Astonished at the Sea) to string quartet (River Beneath the River; Into the Brightening Air) to chamber ensemble (Timberline, Red Shift for mixed ensemble; Simoom for 8 cellos; Tusk for 18 trombones; Go Guitars for 5 electric guitars; etc.) to orchestra (Devil's Punchbowl.)
"I think of myself as a composer from the generation after the minimalists, both chronologically and artistically. The concentration on sheer sensuous beauty of sound in the 'long tone' works of minimalist composers in the 70's and 80's, especially the work of Phill Niblock, has always been arresting for me. In my own music this pure sensuous beauty is often a starting point. I work with emotional expressiveness and with many kinds of sound relationships as well, to build form and structure.
"My works are developmental, often slowly unfolding, sometimes reaching high energy climaxes. In the 1980s I started developing principles of what I call Exponential Structure, in which elements such as time, harmonic motion, rhythmic and timbral development, sound density, etc. are controlled by mathematical exponential factors. These are not abstract constructs to me, but formal ideas based on the emotional thrust of the sounds and of the piece as a whole.
"I'm influenced by a rigorous analytical study of Western music with my composition teachers Mel Powell, Leonard Stein and Morton Subotnick, at California Institute of the Arts, and also by 12 years of study of Gagaku, Japanese court music. For ten years I studied Gagaku (Japanese Court Music) with Suenobu Togi in Los Angeles, and for two years I studied in Tokyo with Sukeyasu Shiba of the emperor's Gagaku Orchestra."