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John Rahn (BA, Diploma, MFA, Ph.D) is Professor of Music Composition and Theory and Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Washington. After an early career as a professional bassoonist (from age 16), he earned degrees in Classics (Pomona), Bassoon (Juilliard), and Composition (Princeton). He has composed music for a variety of forces. He served as founding director of the School of Music Computer Center (SMCC) from 1988 to 1990, and created the year-long series of Computer Music Seminars, which he taught from 1983 to 1991. Two computer-music compositions, Kali and Miranda, were released on Centaur CD CRC 2144. A two-movement, 47-minute long computer-music symphony called Sea of Souls (Sea, City). Sea was selected by international jury for presentation at the 1994 International Computer Music Conference in Denmark. He was invited to present the complete Sea of Souls at the Spanish national computer-music conference in Cuenca in October 1995, and to present a 90-minute lecture on this composition there. He finished a chamber opera called The New Mother in late 2000, and a set of pieces for solo oboe in 2001 (Hoboe), three of which were premiered in February 2001. He teaches an annual course in composer-choreographer collaboration (with Dance faculty), and regularly teaches a graduate seminar in Critical Theory of Music (also for the Ph.D. program in Theory and Criticism). From October through March in 2003-2004 he taught at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, where he had helped to hire the initial faculty in 2001. His compositions have been widely performed and broadcast in North and South America and in Europe, from Argentina to Romania.
As a theorist, he was actively involved in the formation of the Society for Music Theory, and has served on its Board. He served as Editor of Perspectives of New Music from 1983 to 1994 and again from 2001 to the present. He is on the Advisory Board for the new European-American Journal of Mathematics and Music, and on the Board of the Society for Mathematics and Computation of Music. His publications include the textbook Basic Atonal Theory (MacMillan), the anthology Perspectives on Musical Aesthetics (Norton), and articles in Perspectives of New Music, Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Spectrum, In Theory Only, Computer Music Journal, Contemporary Music Review, College Music Symposium, Musicus, Musikometrika, Cahiers de l'IRCAM, World of Music, Current Musicology, The Journal of Mathematics and Music, and the proceedings of various American, Italian, French, German, and Romanian conferences, on subjects including Brahms, non-tonal and serial theory, pitch-class theory, rhythmic theory, theory of tonal music and of medieval music, theoretical methodology and formal methods, mathematical models, musical grammars, computer analysis, digital sound sythesis, computer music, music and artificial intelligence, aesthetics, and critical theory. He published a book in the Critical Voices in Art, Theory and Culture series of Gordon and Breach International, titled Music Inside Out (2001). His current theoretical work is in the philosophy and mathematics of time in the performing arts.