The avid composer attended the New York New School for Social Research, wherein he mastered philosophy besides studying various forms of music including classical music. Known to have traveled the world while studying music, Bill Fontana is said to have imbibed various cultures, with special regards to countries such as Japan, Germany and Australia, and applied his learning into various melodious musical compositions.
Bill Fontana's musical input began in the year 1976 with the advent of sound scriptures. The career, which spanned over thirty years, witnessed Bill Fontana's composition revolving around the urban environment. His musical sources were inspired by the natural surroundings and had the ability to transform a simple tune into a fairy tale image. It could be compared, analyzed and comprehended before being interpreted by the listeners in their own imaginative ways. The effective use of sound scriptures by Bill has been known to move mountains when it comes to assessing musical works. The skilled composer has staged his performances in reputed events such as the Venice Biennale in the year 1999, the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1991, the Museo Reina Sofia, Spain in 1995, Madison Square Park, New York and the Tate Modern, the United Kingdom in the year 2006. The artist is also known the world over for his mesmerizing compositions such as the Distant Trains, Satellite Ear Bridge Cologne-San Francisco, The Sound of an Unblown Flute Panoramic Echoes and Journey Through My Sound Scriptures. (Tux Deluxe, 2007)
The Concept Of Bill Fontana Vs John Cage / Luigi Russolo
Bill Fontana's is known to be a sound architect with a difference. He is also stated to have used objects such as belly jars and brewery bottles to study the frequency of sound through the study of echo and acoustical properties of the related objects. The transformation of an ambient sound into a musical phrase was executed to perfection in Fontana's 'Sound Sculptures'. This reflection of sound is often referred to as lending an 'ear to the world.' To draw the attention away from visual contemplation of a materialistic object, Fontana placed a microphone in the cavity of a resonate object and allowed the sound vibrations to a group of well placed speakers on the ground below. When compared to the concepts of modern composer John Cage, who did not believe in making use of the sounds of whistles and machine vibrations, the sounds generated by Fontana were based on objects which emitted noise. Fontana's concept was lauded by composer Luigi Russolo, who went a step further and added a new dimension to the music of sound by including shaking of doors, thumping valves, throbbing engine motors and thudding pistons in his futurist manifesto, The Art Of Noise. Later even John Cage admitted to the fact that these noises could be made 'extra musical' through the means of various unconventional devices.
John Cage, on the other hand, believed in the power of silence. This avant-grade composer was supposedly the inventor of silence and in the year 1952, he composed his most famous piece ever, entitled 4'33". The composition involved a complete silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds wherein apart from the background hum from the audience and the occasional coughs from