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Richard Marriott has been active as a composer, performer, and instrument builder for over thirty years. He has composed extensively for film, television, dance, theater, opera, installations and video games, encompassing styles ranging from avant garde to commercial mainstream. He is founder and artistic director of the Club Foot Orchestra, the premiere ensemble for live music performance with silent film. This ensemble, originally an experimental night club act, began to perform with film in 1987 and now has a repertoire of nine feature-length scores which have been performed at venues such as Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Smithsonian Institution, World Financial Center, NuArt Theater (Santa Monica) and Castro Theater (San Francisco) A smaller New York-based group, Ensemble Lumiere New York, was unveiled in 2006 for a performance at the Rubin Museum of his new score for "The Indian Tomb".
His current project "DivideLight", an opera conceived by Brooklyn visual artist Lesley Dill, will be performed on August 13, 2008 at the Montalvo Art Center, located near San Jose California. This 80 minute work features performances by the 45 voice "The Choral Project", the Del Sol String Quartet, soprano Jennifer Goltz, mezzo Kathleen Moss and baritone Andrew Eisenmann.
Composing credits also include music for the feature film "Rising Sun" (1993), starring Sean Connery and directed by Phil Kaufman, the score for the Academy Award nominated documentary "Silver into Gold" (1986), music for the CBS series "The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat" (1995) also the score for "Legong, Dance of the Virgins" (picked by the New York Times as one of 20 "Notable DVD's of 2004", describing the the score as "ravishing"). Among his silent scores which are often broadcast on television are "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1987), "Nosferatu" (1989) and "Sherlock Jr." (1992). He has composed the scores for numerous independent films including “Love Suicide” (David Teague, director), "Red Terror on the Amber Coast" (Ken Gumbert director and David O'Rouke, producer) and “The Collectors” (Ian Day, director).
He was employed as a staff composer for Atari Games (1992-97) and contributed thousands of short compositions for Leapfrog Toys (1996- 2004). He has worked with California-based choreographer Della Davidson on six productions since 1991 and collaborated with choreographer Yoshiko Chuma on "Page Out of Order", produced at New York's Dance Theater Workshop ( 2007). "City of Paper", a collaboration with choreographer Yin Mei and technologist/artist Christopher Salter is set to tour in 2009. Works for theater include "Encarnation" (2002) with shadow puppet master Larry Reed, "Happy Hour Becomes Electra" (1991) and “University of Alaska” (2004), both musical theater collaborations with Los Angeles based Overtone Theater, and music for three California Shakespeare Company productions.
Many of his recent compositions are especially noteworthy in their innovative synthesis of Asian and Western elements. A current opera collaboration with Beijing-based director Xu Ying, entited "Prince Lan Ling", is scored for western symphonic orchestra, Chinese instruments and singers, chorus and dancers. The previously mentioned "Page Out of Order" was written for three traditional Japanese musicians (shamisen, shakuhachi and shimitaiko), three traditional Macedonian musicians and two American musicians. The previously mentioned "Legong" is scored for Balinese gamelan, string quartet, trumpet and clarinet, and served as his introduction to Balinese music. He has performed on the Balinese suling with Gamelan Sekar Jaya and Gamelan Dharma Swara in North America and with local groups in Indonesia. In addition, many aspects of Asian music have entered his instrumental vocabulary, such as the adaptation of Balinese hocket patterns for brass and the use of North Indian raga and tala.
Marriott is also a performer on Western brass and woodwinds, playing with Snakefinger, the Residents, the Violent Femmes, Kenny Wollesen and Chris McIntyre's 7x7 Trombone Band in addition to the ensembles mentioned above.
During his employment at Serge Modular Music Systems (1980-82), he invented the "voltage-controlled Casio", in which a installed circuit board allowed the keyboard to be driven by control voltage sources such as an analog synthesizer. A later upgrade used an onboard voltage source and a comparator circuit to switch between the original clock and the voltage-controlled clock. This ability to frequency modulate the Casio resulted in a wealth of bizarrely beautiful sound. Among the musicians who used this modification were Throbbing Gristle, Snakefinger, Tuxedo Moon, Don Preston (Mothers of Invention) and especially The Residents who purchased three of these instruments. The sound of the instrument was especially significant on the Resident's "Tale of Two Cities" and "The Mole Show" performances.
Technology also figures prominently in Marriott's interactive opera "God Machine" (2002) in which the audience is asked to read a variety of questions regarding business ethics, their votes are tabulated by a program using the MAX application, and the resulting patterns determines aspects of the plot. "God Machine" is written for soprano, countertenor, country blues singer/guitarist, Balinese gamelan, string trio, erhu, yanqing and Balinese sisya dancer.
His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Music Fund and Meet the Composer. His teachers include Pauline Oliveros, Dominick Argento, Paul Fetler, Eric Stokes, Ali Akbar Khan, Masayuki Koga and Serge Tchrepnin.