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JOSE VICENTE ASUAR (Chile, 1933-2017)

"Variaciones Espectrales", documentaire, 2013

José Vicente Asuar composer and one of the pioneers in the use of computers for the creation in music, died after a prolific and generous life.

Asuar died at the age of 83 leaving behind him a series of groundbreaking initiatives that inaugurate the creation of electronic music in Chile and South America, influencing a transversal generation of musicians and artists from several fields, always with a mixture of high intelligence and humility, one of his most beloved characteristics.

In 1958 he founds at the Arts Faculty of Universidad de Chile the first Laboratory for Electronic Music in Chile, parallel in time to the huge achievements of masters such as Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

In 1959 he composed "Variaciones Espectrales", one of his most solid masterpieces, composition that also gives the name to the documentary film made to honor his lifetime achievements.

In the Universidad de Chile he shared his knowledge as professor of acoustic and electroacoustic music, founding at the same time the Technology in Sound career.

In 1960 he takes this knowledge to University of Karlsruhe, in Germany, where he found the Electronic Music Lab, and in 1965 he raise the same methodology in Caracas, Venezuela.

With this experience, in 1978 he developed the first computer dedicated for the creation of electronic music in Chile, the COMDASUAR. He declared, in a clear provocation to the dogmatics of the classical and conservative identity of the chilean music scene that "The piano or the violin is as artificial as a computer", making clear his disruptive and irreverent methodologies, condition trespassed to his creations, in a very subtle, poetic and elegant way.

"The Virtuous Computer" from 1973, and " That's how the computer spoke" from 1979, are just two examples of the rigorosity and dedication on the creation of music through experimental instruments that are nowadays massive creation tools, but that in that time, and in a country far away from the international circuit, an epic and huge contribution for the worldwide music and technology history. His thoughts and clarity to defend the creation of experimental music outside the commercial industry, is an inspiration for the chilean and international creative and experimental community.

We will remember his legacy, and put his name in the place that his kind, intelligent and generous humanity deserves.

Respect, maestro.

Chilean Experimental Art and Music Community

Enrique Rivera
January 2017

© Enrique Rivera & Leonardo/Olats, janvier 2017



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