Philip Blackburn was born in Cambridge, England, and studied music there and at the University of Iowa with Kenneth Gaburo. He has worked at the American Composers Forum since 1991, running the innova Recordings label and producing upwards of 500 albums, including the multimedia Urtext series, Enclosures: Harry Partch.
He is also a public artist specializing in sound — a composer/environmental sound-artist. Blackburn’s works have been heard in ships’ harbors, state fairs, forests, and coming out of storm sewers, as well as in galleries, parking lots, and on concert stages. He has incorporated brainwave sensors and dowsing rods in performance as well as balloon flutes, conch shells, car horns, and wind-powered harps. Blackburn’s 2012 hyperopera, The Sun Palace, a site-specific work about a TB sanatorium in Colorado Springs is now an independent experimental film that premiered at The Anthology Film Archives in New York.
His latest work is The Scope at Beacon Bluff, a kinetic, kaleidoscopic sculpture on the site of the original 3M headquarters in St. Paul.
Signal to Noise magazine (reviewing his CDs, Ghostly Psalms and Music of Shadows) called Blackburn “a startlingly original voice, one that encompasses all periods of music history in a uniquely engaging vision.”
He received a 2003 Bush Artist Fellowship, a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and has built an art-house in Belize. In 2015 he will be a Civitella Ranieri Fellow in residence at an Italian castle working on The Odyssey, a sound theater production about Vietnamese Boat People.