Brian Eno, the influential British musician, producer and visual artist who has helped define and reinvent the sound of top music artists including David Bowie, U2, Talking Heads, and Coldplay, will be honored by the Venice Biennale Music section with its Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.
Eno is being honored “for his research into the quality, beauty and diffusion of digital sound and for his conception of the acoustic space as a compositional instrument,” the Biennale said in a statement.
Eno, 74, who describes himself as a ‘non-musician’ is best known for his contributions to ambient music and work in rock, pop and electronica and has been on the cutting edge of technology and artistic innovation for the past 50 years.
The self-described “sonic landscaper” began his career as the synthesizer player for groundbreaking glam rock band Roxy Music in the early 1970s. He left the band to release a series of solo records and later pioneered the genre of ambient music with his 1978 album “Ambient 1: Music for Airports.”
Eno’s work as producer includes albums with Talking Heads, Devo, U2, Laurie Anderson, James, Jane Siberry and Coldplay. His copious collaborations include recordings with David Bowie, Jon Hassell, Harold Budd, John Cale, David Byrne, and Grace Jones.
He also composed what may be the most heard piece of music in the world: the startup sound for Microsoft Windows.
“From the very beginning of his career Brian Eno’s compositions have been conceived in terms of a generative process that evolves in a potentially infinite time dimension, foreshadowing many of today’s compositional trends linked to digital sound,” commented Biennale Music artistic director Lucia Ronchetti in her motivation for the award. “His conception of the recording studio as a meta-instrument for the purposes of composition, the domain for the processing, multiplication and assemblage of recorded sound fragments, acoustic simulacra and autonomous sound objects, has allowed Eno to create immersive electronic space that transforms and permeates the sound reality which surrounds us, in accordance with ever-changing dramaturgies,” she added.
The Biennale Music Golden Lion award will be given to Eno at a ceremony on Oct. 22 in Venice. The Biennale arts foundation is also the parent organization of the Venice Film Festival.
On the preceding day, Oct. 21, Brian Eno will present the world premiere of his project “Ships” at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice as part of the Biennale Music Festival. The piece will feature the Baltic Sea Philharmonic conducted by Kristjan Järvi, actor Peter Serafinowicz, and long-time collaborators, guitarist Leo Abrahams and software designer Peter Chilvers, interacting with the orchestral atmospheres diffused and processed for the theatre’s particular acoustic space, the Biennale said.