Discipline: Music Composition

Zach Layton

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: High Falls, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2022

Zach Layton is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, curator, and educator working collaboratively across genres and disciplines. His work has explored musical approaches to biofeedback and brainwave signal, transcriptions of insect rhythms for string orchestra, sonification of internet traffic, multichannel sound installations, and photographic representation of sonic vibration.

He has performed at the Guggenheim Museum, Moma/PS1, Roulette, the Kitchen, EMPAC, Museum der Modern Salzburg, and many other venues in New York and abroad. He has been awarded a MacDowell Fellowship, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Music/Sound award, Jerome Foundation, Fulbright NAF, Wave Farm, Signal Culture, and the Art OMI music residency.

Zach is also founder of the experimental music series, "Darmstadt: Classics of the Avant Garde" (co-curated with Nick Hallett), former co-curator of the MoMa/PS1 WarmUp music series and former curator of Issue Project Room.

A graduate of Oberlin conservatory, ITP and the Bard M.F.A., he completed his Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a professor of music at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

While at MacDowell he created new work for amplified grand piano and electronics and recorded it in the James Baldwin Library. He also began composing an opera in collaboration with librettist Alyssa Taylor Wendt.

Portrait by Molly Stinchfield



Zach Layton worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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