Samuel Allen Taylor


The sonic creations of composer, classical guitarist and electro-acoustic artist, Samuel Allen Taylor, explore the point of intersection between electronic and acoustic sound media, and the live-performance-based transformation of their qualities. His work seeks a synthesis of the notated and improvised musical traditions, and navigates the spiritual feedback network between performing artists, technological instruments, electro-acoustic vibrations, and audience.

Mr. Taylor currently resides in Winston-Salem, NC, where he works as composer, performer, and as classical guitar instructor at Salem College, where he has helped to establish the new Bachelor of Music program in Guitar Performance.

In the spring of 2015, his composition, Radio Dream Voice, received its world premiere by pianist Barbara-Lister Sink in the Legacy Alive! Concert series at Salem College, and last year his work, Tableaux, was performed at the Clark Theatre at Lincoln Center (New York, New York).

As a longtime collaborator with alban elved dance company, Mr. Taylor has created the music for Vita, which was presented at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (Winston-Salem, NC) and Emory and Henry College (Emory, VA).


“Mindful of the sharp differences between Fields’ cleanly linear drawings and Ruckman’s fluidly expressionistic paintings, Taylor sought to sonically mediate those contrasting visual languages while working toward the larger, shared goal of honoring the 12 Jupiter genii. Although his medium is electronic sound, his experience during and immediately following the project’s invocation rituals was multi-sensory, manifested in both auditory and visual impressions. All remained strongly present for him when he set about composing, as ideals he hoped to approximate with the digital technology at his disposal. In addition to computer programs simulating the range of sounds a 1960s- vintage modular synthesizer offers, Taylor employed several other strategies to this end. These included transformation of orchestral and percussion-derived sounds; processing and recomposition of sound recordings the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made of Jupiter and its 67 moons; and an indeterminate, open- channel sound-generating process that Taylor calls “electric discourse.” The latter phrase hints at his idea that the process extends his communication with the Jupiter genii, enabling him to encourage their participation. He experimented freely and intuitively with all these sources in order to select the sounds that make up his composition. A quadrophonic (four-channel) process allowed him to direct sounds at the listener from any of several different directions, in effect situating the sounds in space as well as in time. Not only do they emanate from the four discrete channels, but they also seem to move through the spaces in between. The multi-tracking phase of Taylor’s process is analogous to traditional composition in the sense that he began each of this work’s 12 movements with a motif on which he then elaborated. Furthermore, he structured the music so that each movement echoes in one or more of the other movements. The movements‘ titles are identical to those of Fields’ drawings and Ruckman’s paintings.

Unlike his collaborators, who created their contributions to the project sequentially, Taylor worked on all 12 movements of his composition simultaneously, moving back and forth from one to another until he had finished them all. The movements vary in length from about three to seven minutes, not counting the brief interludes that link them into a single listening experience of about one hour’s duration.

Because it exists as a recording to be played in a gallery with the project’s 24 visual artworks on exhibition, viewer/listeners will presumably enter and leave at different times, depending on their personal schedules and attention spans. For that reason Taylor composed it as a continuous form, independent of conventional structure, circling back on itself without beginning or end.”

-Tom Patterson