biography


The scene of the phonograph. It was all downhill from here.

Quakers.

Ed's first choice of career didn't go exactly as planned.

The Ski-A-Delics, circa 1989.

Ed was born in Helsinki, Finland and spent his early life aiding his parents to smuggle art out of the Soviet Union. After one such endeavor went south, he relocated to Philadelphia where he grew up in a Quaker household under a witness protection program and periodic visits from the FBI. The Quaker religious ceremonies are marked by long periods of silence, and Ed's experience of them was where he learned to pay close attention to the tiniest and most unlikely of sounds. Several subsequent years of French Horn study were unable to sway him from the unfortunate career trajectory that his family's religious inclinations had set in motion.

 

Ed spent an unclear portion of the 1980's at Wesleyan University where he studied music composition under the tutelage of Alvin "I Am Sitting In A Room" Lucier and Ron "that's 13,500 volts, buddy" Kuivila. For reasons that no one fully understands, he also studied political science during this period. Once done, he fled Middletown, Connecticut for Boston where he taught electronic music and sound art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and performed for several years with the Ski-A-Delics - the world's first (and probably last) all-ski musical ensemble.

 

During this time Ed also pursued a career in professional motorsports. Racing under the name "John Summers" so his art-world credibility would not be negatively affected by corporate sponsorship (and visa-versa), Ed piloted open-wheel and sports cars in many competitions throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. This endeavour was not without success, as he won both the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1985 and the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1991. Eventually, however, Ed's habit of redesigning expensive cars in a matter of seconds got the better of him and by the mid-nineties he had stopped racing altogether in favor of a marginally less glamorous career in the audio arts.

 

Shortly after his last encounter with "sudden concrete," Ed moved to Oakland, California to pursue a terminal degree at Mills College. After studying under Chris Brown, John Bischoff, and a second Alvin (Curran), he retained residence in a number of soon-to-be-demolished buildings in and around Oakland while pursuing a variety of projects. Among these were perfomances and exhibitions of his inscrutable artwork (see the rest of this website), soundscores for film, dance, and installation works for some medium-famous artists, and commercial sound design for many, many now-defunct media companies.

 

Over the last twenty-odd years Ed has somehow convinced various powers-that-be to exhibit his work at otherwise reputable spaces from New Zealand to Newfoundland. In addition, his perfomances have tested the patience of audiences from Brisbane to Barcelona. A surprisingly large number of funders have kindly provided Ed with living quarters, time, space, support services, and funding to pursue his projects at one point or another. And he has for no apparent reason repeatedly been permitted to ramble on at length in various institutions of higher learning worldwide.

 

He served as the Director of SoundCulture 96, a Bay Area-wide festival of the sonic arts of the Pacific region. It was the largest sound art festival ever held in the United States and, following stern admonishments by his accountant, Ed promised never to do anything like it ever again. A series of mistranscribed phone messages and typographical errors resulted in Ed's being appointed to the art departments of the Unversity of California at Santa Cruz and, more recently, Brown University (Providence, RI). Though he continues to confuse the words "teach" and "beach" over the phone, he is quite happy to be employed somewhere near a large body of water.