Michael Edgerton is at the forefront of vocal exploration by extending the technical and expressive capabilities of voice. As composer, researcher and performer, he has presented new developments in the search for the limits of sound production. Notably, he has systematically investigated extra-normal singing using the tools of voice science and psychoacoustics. This approach has earned Mike considerable renown for those interested in the present and future of modern (experimental) voice.
As a composer, Michael’s music coalesces diverse influences such as European avant-garde, American experimentalism, and world music into contexts that are informed by scientific models and metaphors. Initially stemming from his work with voice science and dynamical systems, Michael has, since the mid-90’s, been pioneering work with multidimensionality and nonlinear phenomenon applied to sound production and composition. Michael’s artistic mission is to liberate those sounds that otherwise remain in danger of being overlooked or going unheard. Michael has received prizes for his compositions, such as his Tempo Mental Rap, which received the prestigious Kompositionspreis der Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart. His music has been performed around the world by ensembles including 441 Hz Chamber Choir, AuditivVokal Dresden, Berliner Cappella, C Asean Consonant Ensemble, China-Asean Youth Orchestra, Ekmeles Ensemble, Ensemble Ars Nova, Ensemble: Either/Or, Ensemble Proxima Centauri, Evergreen Experimental Music Ensemble, Guangxi Symphony Orchestra, Kairos String Quartet, Landesjugendchor Saar, Loadbang, Merle Noir, New Music Coop’s Combo Ensemble, St John’s Vocal Exploration Gatherings, Southwestern University (China), Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Quartet New Generation, Via Nova Choir (Munich), VocalX Choir, Works-in-Progress Ensemble and by artists Almut Kühne, Andreas Fröhling, Angela Rademacher-Wingerath, Argenta Walther, Chatschatur Kanajan, Gary Verkade, Hu liu, Jan Heinke, Jeffrey Burns, Joshua Hyde, Mats Möller, Matt Hinchliffe, Matthias Bauer, Mattias Johansson, Moritz Ernst, Philippe Arnaudet, Rebekka Uhlig, Simon Strasser, Stefan Östersjö, Stephanie Aston, Timo Kinnunen, among others.
Michael is engaged with research. In 1995, Michael was asked by Barney Childs and Philip Rehfeldt to contribute a book on modern vocal techniques to the New Instrumentation Series. Since his approach has been to focus on the mechanics of voice production, Michael applied for and received a three-year Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Center for Voice and Speech to study voice science and participate on research projects that included: reinforced harmonics, chant, ingressive airflow phonation, vocal violence. In 2005, THE 21St CENTURY VOICE was published by Scarecrow Press, with the second edition being released ten years later with Rowman & Littlefield. The book proposes continued exploration of vocal production based within the framework of voice science. Michael has also published scholarly articles on music composition, the extra-normal voice, nonlinear phenomenon and multidimensional scaling in sound production. Michael was recognized in the “Marquis Who’s Who in the World” since 2015. His creative and scholarly outputs has significant impact as evidenced by citations in books, articles and dissertations/theses.
Olaf Katzer, Artistic Director of AUDITIVVOKAL DRESDEN has written, “Forty years after Luciano Berio’s “Sequenza” the American composer Michael Edward Edgerton has illuminated in his study “Anaphora” the expressive potential of the human voice. A kaleidoscope of 56 different categories of vocal multiphonics shows the wealth that the human carries in vocal expression. It pays to listen closely because simply there are many never heard before sound landscapes, in which multiphonic and polyphonic sound cosmos appears, although they are given by only one woman. These sounds are based neither on witchcraft, nor cast by a mystical spell, but are the result of scientifically based research in the field of voice, made by the composer himself and in his book “The 21st Century Voice”. Since the publication of his book “The 21st Century Voice” (2004), the American composer Michael Edgerton has become one of the leading experts in the search for the expressive possibilities of contemporary voice. No other composer has so systematically and unconditionally applied a compositional approach to every possibility of the human voice. “Anaphora” is at the same time a sound study, in which is presented his research on 56 different classes of vocal multiphonics, opening up a new sound universe.”
Michael holds a D.M.A. in Composition from the University of Illinois, where he studied principally with William Brooks. Edgerton is currently Associate Professor of Music Composition at the Guangxi Arts University.