John McCowen is a composer/clarinetist focused on extending the possibilities of the clarinet. His work has been described by The New Yorker as “the sonic equivalent of microscopic life viewed on a slide”. John’s multiphonic approach embraces drones, difference tones, and beating harmonics as a means to showcase the compositional potential within a single, acoustic sound source. Documents of this practice have been released by Edition Wandelweiser, International Anthem, Astral Spirits, SUPERPANG, Dinzu Artefacts, and others. John was a 2017 & 2019 artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio in Yunnan, China, and also the 2020 artist-in-residence at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn. He received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for excellence in music composition in 2016 from Mills College where he received an MA in Music Composition under the tutelage of Roscoe Mitchell. He currently resides in Reykjavik, Iceland.
John remains stubbornly dedicated to acoustic phenomena. His works do not utilize amplifier feedback or electronically-generated sounds unless specified.