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William Osborne

William Osborne

William Osborne was born 1951 in Deming, N.M., the grandson of homesteading cotton farmers.

He studied with George Crumb for five years in Philadelphia, and with Franco Donatoni for two in Rome. He has received two ASCAP awards, a Doctoral Fellowship to Columbia University, alternate to the American Rome Prize, and a major prize from the Theater Commission of the City of Munich for his Beckett productions. He founded The Wasteland Company in 1984 along with his wife Abbie Conant as the main performer to explore women's roles in music theater.

In recent years they have toured to over 155 cities in America and Europe to great critical acclaim with his compositions. Their European venues have included the Munich Biennale, The Stuttgarter Tage für Neue Musik, The Hamburg State Opera, The Bavarian State Opera, The Freiburg Theater Festival, The State Theater of Kassel, Frankfurt’s Theater am Turm, Munich’s Gasteig Cultrual Center, and Nuovo Forme Sonare in Rome. They have performed and given workshops at most of America’s major music schools including The Juilliard School, The New England Conservatory, Yale University, The Eastman School of Music, The Peabody Conservatory, Indiana University, The San Francisco Conservatory, Cal Arts, the University of California at Berkley, Ithaca College, and the University of Northern Texas.

He also has written numerous scholarly articles about women in music, music sociology and philosophical/theoretical concepts.  His article "Sounding the Abyss of Otherness: Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening and the Sonic Meditations is published in Women Making Art (New York: Lang 2000.)  His article “You Sound Like A Ladies’ Orchestra: A Case History of Sexism Against Abbie Conant In the Munich Philharmonic”  has won a “Best of the Web” award and led to a 90 minute documentary film about Abbie’s experiences broadcast nationally on German State Television.  The article was also the basis of the last chapter of Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink which was on the New York Times Bestseller List for 18 weeks -- and number one for three.  His article “Art Is Just An Excuse: Gender Bias In International Orchestras”was published in the Journal of the International Alliance for Women In Music, where it initiated international protests against the Vienna Philharmonic and worldwide press coverage including reports on NPR, an interview of William on ABC’s Good Morning America, and front page articles on both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.  His article “Symphony Orchestras and Artist-Prophets: Cultural Isomorphism and the Allocation of Power in Music” was published in Leonardo Music Journal—a joint venture of the International Society for Art, Science and Technology and the M.I.T. Press. In 1998 he was given a Special Recognition Award by the International Alliance for Women in Music for his services to women in music. In January 2000 MSNBC published a major article about his work on their web new site, "Taking On the Vienna Philharmonic."