Steve Layton: short biography

Born 1956 in Pasco, Washington (US), a typical farming/railroad semi-desert town (except for the Hanford nuclear reactor on the other side of the river -- producer of the material that went into the Nagasaki bomb), Steve Layton spent your average boyhood music career making weird sounds inside his family's piano, singing Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones covers in junior-high-school rock bands, but then mysteriously falling under the spell of Stravinsky, Messiaen and King Crimson. After that there was never any doubt that what he wanted to do more than anything else in the world was compose... So badly in fact, that he neglected to graduate from high school...

In college a month later (after some strong teacher recommendations and a quick G.E.D.), first at The Evergreen State College (w/ Greg Steinke, William Winden, Barney Childs, Morton Subotnick, Gordon Mumma), then The University of Idaho (Greg Steinke, William Billingsley, Barney Childs, Pauline Oliveros) he navigated the realms of composition, performance and especially analog electronic music. With a strong interest as well in history, poetry and visual art, much of his college activity was cross-disciplinary.

After a post-college stint in the U.S. Air Force as a member of a nuclear missile launch crew, coming to Seattle in 1983 he began a string of concert appearances at On the Boards, Soundwork, 911, New Music America, Bumbershoot and Nippon Kan, often collaborating with dancers and videographers. Layton essentially stopped live performances in 1990, spending the time from then to now exploring both electronic and "virtual orchestral" composition, as well as new ways the internet can facilitate distribution, networking, and concertizing of new music for the independent musician.

What some would see as "eclecticism", Layton sees as the eternal "now"; that each person is a kind of vortex moving through all that ever was, reaching through time, place and culture to shape their own particular moment. Classical, ethnic, popular, "live", "virtual", "real", "unreal"... All of these and more are really perceptions of the same complex substance, that makes both life and art possible.

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