Phill Niblock (born October 2, 1933 in Anderson, Indiana) is an American composer, filmmaker, videographer, and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation for avant-garde music based in New York with a parallel branch in Ghent, Belgium. Niblock’s first musical compositions date from 1968. Unusually, even among the avant-garde composers of his generation, he has no formal musical training. He cites the musical activities of New York in the 1960s (and occasional memorable performances, such as the premiere of Morton Feldman’s Durations pieces) as a stimulus. All his compositions are worked out intuitively rather than systematically. His early works were all done with tape, overdubbing unprocessed recordings of precisely tuned long tones played on traditional instruments in four, eight, or sixteen tracks.
The Ensemble Phoenix Basel was founded in 1998 by Swiss conductor and pianist Jürg Henneberger, flutist Christoph Bösch and percussionist Daniel Buess. Right from the start, this highly versatile orchestra for contemporary music had a significant impact on the cultural scene of its home city. Today, it is one of the most important groups of its kind in Switzerland and has also gained an international reputation. The number of musicians onstage can range from two to almost thirty, making the ensemble ideally suited for performing the works of contemporary composers. This might be fairly common practice in companies these days, but what gives the Ensemble Phoenix Basel its unique edge is how it incorporates, and is driven by, the impulses and preferences of its individual members.