Brooks, William (1943-) | University of Illinois Archives
William Brooks (1943-) is an American composer, performer, conductor, musicologist, and educator. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music and mathematics from Wesleyan University (1965), and his Master of Music in musicology (1971) and Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition-theory (1976) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Brooks served on the music faculty at the University of Illinois between 1969-1973 and 1987-2000 as Professor of Composition, Director of the Contemporary Chamber Singers, and Chair of the Composition-Theory Division for many years. His other faculty positions included appointments at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1973-1975) and University of California, San Diego (1975-1977). Between 1977 and 1987 he worked as a freelance composer, scholar and performer. Brooks has also held visiting appointments at the University of Keele (1977-1978), Middlebury College (1982), the Institute for Studies in American Music, Brooklyn College (1983), and Goldsmiths College, London (1995-1996). He was also a Senior Research Fellow at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium (2009-2010). Brooks also served as Associate Professor Emeritus of Composition and Theory at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1987-2000), and beginning in 2000 became Reader in Music at the University of York. He became full Professor in 2006.
Brooks is closely associated with John Cage as both a performer and scholar. He played in the world premiere of Cage's HPSCHD and directed several productions of Cage's Song Books. Brooks has published extensively on 20th-century American music, especially on John Cage and Charles Ives, vocal music, popular music, and musical instruments. He served as the adviser for the article, "19th-century Music," for The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is composer of American experimental music whose work focuses on mappings between music and other fine arts. He has received commissions from the British Arts Council (1978), the Gulbenkian Foundation (1981) and the Kronos Quartet (1986). In addition his research and compositions have been sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Fulbright Scholar program.