Ruth White Article – Back Cover of “Short Circuits” LP

Electronic composer and innovator Ruth White is considered among today’s most gifted arbiters of what is termed “the new music.” Formally educated in piano and composition (she has three degrees from Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Tech), Miss White discusses her work in her Southern California studio: “I do not have a formal classical electronic background— that is self-taught. In fact, I was careful not to study electronics with anyone. Because I have been working in recording for many years, I felt that there was a directness of approach that I wanted to develop which was totally missing from the electronic scene in classical music.”
How effectively her medium has conveyed her message may be judged by the critical comment awarded her own original electronic compositions.Writing of “Seven Trumps From the Tarot Cards,” a completely electronic score reflecting her impressions of the occult, Donal Henahan commended Miss White in The New York Times for her “musical inventiveness and electronic sophistication.” From Paul Eberle in the Los Angeles Free Press: “Miss White has explored electronics to find a new instrumentation of voices for her compositions, and has conceived it as an extension of the music of the past,’ rather than a break from it, or-a renunciation.” “Pinions” was commissioned by dance choreographer Eugene Loring for the University of California. After the 1968 premiere, the Los Angeles Times commented: ” …a really exciting, organically musical, electronic score by Ruth White. Not only the soloists but all the participants seemed to draw heat from this score…”. “Flowers of Evil,” an electronic music setting for the poems of Baudelaire utilizing the human voice (her own) as an instrument, represents to Free Press critic Eberle, “…an important step in the evolution of music.”In addition to the compositions mentioned above which have involved her in the fields of choreography and spoken word among others. Miss White has become increasingly active in the arts most closely allied to electronics: television. motion pictures and audio-visual cassettes.
-From the back cover of “Short Circuits” LP (Angel Records, 1971)

  1. November 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Hi. I appreciate your site greatly. Do you know if Ruth White is still alive and if so, how one might contact her? I have a website devoted to Les Barricades Mysterieuses and I want to obtain her permission to post her rendition of that piece on Short Circuits on my site. Thanks.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Hi Simon…
    I was in contact briefly with her assistant. She told me that Ruth is alive and was aware of the web site. But I have not heard back from her in a few months. I do not know how to get in contact with Ms. White either…. trust me, I would LOVE to be able to interview her.

    • November 10, 2011 at 2:20 am

      Thanks so much for your reply and the information therein. If you had an email address or something for the assistant, I would try writing to him/her. But otherwise, I guess there’s nothing to do. Thanks again.

  3. Simon
    November 10, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Oops, that comment from Giovanna was from me, Simon. Someone else was logged in on my computer.

    November 10, 2011 at 3:54 am

    I wish I was organized better…. I don’t have the email addy.

    • Simon
      November 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks anyway! Best wishes.

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