Brian Griffeath-Loeb (b. 1981) is a composer and video/installation artist primarily engaged with “acoustic debris”—sounds we often like to pretend aren’t there: the hiss of breath escaping a wind player’s embouchure or the rattle of moisture collecting inside the instrument, the gentle thump of digital piano keys or the creaks and groans of a bench beneath the pianist. These are sounds of striving, of intention, reflecting bodily and mechanical engagement. The essence of his work is creating soundworlds that immerse the listener in such material, bringing focus to the pathos of human effort.
Griffeath-Loeb has refined this aesthetic, working with performers and ensembles of international reputation (e.g., Talea, soundSCAPE, JACK Quartet), attending residencies and festivals (e.g., Darmstadt, Banff Centre, June in Buffalo, Harvard Summer Composition Institute), and presenting guest lectures (e.g., at Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley). His music has recently been featured at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (New England Conservatory), California Institute of the Arts, and the Cubus Kunsthalle in Duisberg. Upcoming projects include a piece for the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet and an experimental documentary film with Icelandic artist Berglind María Tómasdóttir.
He holds a Ph.D. in composition from UC San Diego and additional degrees from the Royal College of Music in London and Dartmouth College. Principal studies with Rand Steiger and Steven Takasugi; additional studies with Roger Reynolds, Chaya Czernowin, Erik Ulman, Charles Dodge, Larry Polansky, and John Appleton.
Griffeath-Loeb is strongly committed to fostering community and innovative program development. Early in his graduate studies, he founded New Music at UCSD, a student organization providing cultural opportunities on campus. As Artistic Director, Griffeath-Loeb conceived and realized nine residencies with visiting artists and ensembles, 21 concerts, 10 lectures, 7 workshops, and a multi-week festival, in support of which he raised more than $50,000 from a variety of funding agencies. Featured artists and ensembles included Christian Wolff, John Chowning, Graeme Jennings, Tom Johnson, the Formalist Quartet, the Wet Ink Ensemble, Red Light New Music, and rarescale Artistic Director, Carla Rees.
Griffeath-Loeb serves as Director of Development for wasteLAnd, an LA–based presenting institution devoted to bridging the gap between mainstream audiences and the avant-garde. Hailed as “musical pioneers” (Mark Swed, LA Times) and “one of the country’s most far-sighted new-music series” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), wasteLAnd is recognized as a catalyst for musical innovation. The series has been featured by the LA Philharmonic (Green Umbrella Series), Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, and American Composers Forum, and is a frequent LA Times Critic’s Pick for music.