An Interview with Emmanuel Ghent: By Norma Beecroft


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Emmanuel Ghent
b. May 15, 1925 Montreal, PQ – d. March 31, 2003, New York, N.Y.

Interviewed by Norma Beecroft as part of her ebook, Conversations With Post World War II Pioneers of Electronic Music.
Recorded on audio cassette.
Digital transfer and editing: William Van Ree

Emmanuel Ghent’s life was balanced between his two all consuming interests – music and psychiatry. As a young Canadian, his interest in music began at age 14, which led to studies at McGill University, and there he pursued his talents in science as well at the Faculty of Medicine, graduating in 1950 as an M.D. He then moved to New York City, studying at the W.A. White Institute where he received his diploma in psychoanalysis in 1956, and in 1961 was appointed a faculty member at New York University.

Along with many of his colleagues, in the 1960s Ghent was very attracted to the new musical technologies available at the Columbia Princeton Electronic Music Centre, and with the assistance of a Guggenheim fellowship, he began a 10-year residency at the computer-controlled electronic music studio of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, working with the GROOVE Computer system. He is known for his inventiveness in the realm of computer music, creating programs that were integral to the development of this new resource for composers.

Emmanuel Ghent remained active in the field of psychotherapy, concurrent with his musical life, until his sudden death at age 78.

You can read the transcript of the interview, along with interviews of 22 other electroacoustic composers, by purchasing the ebook here.