Jack Curtis Dubowsky
As a hybrid practitioner, my work encompasses music, sound, film, writing and research. My work spans 1982 to the current day and is associated with queer, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, activist, film, choral, and improvisation communities.
I began playing in bands in Los Angeles in 1982, working professionally in the recording industry from 1986. My performance work connected to activist communities including ACT UP Los Angeles and Queer Nation. I worked with outsider artists like Glen Meadmore and Bruce LaBruce. This furthered my interest in sociopolitical music and media.
My concert music employs acoustic instruments, composed material, and structured improvisation. My signature Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble combines acoustic instruments, electroacoustic approaches, composed material, visuals, and structured improvisation. The Ensemble specializes in programs of live music to silent and experimental film. We have presented lives scores to Nosferatu (1922), The Golem (1920), The Mark of Zorro (1920), The Phantom Carriage (1921), Sunrise (1927), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), and others.
My choral music has been performed internationally, including at every GALA Choral Convention since 2004. I have set texts by Langston Hughes, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk: A Cantata (2012) uses Milk texts never before published that were sourced with the cooperation of the Estate of Harvey Milk and the Harvey Milk Archives. I compose choral music as a tool for social justice in the service of building community.
As a director and producer, my films have screened internationally. My feature documentary Submerged Queer Spaces (2012) examines queer history through urban archeology. The film came out of a live performance (2010) with improvised soundtrack to an early cut of the film.
My three books concentrate on midcentury American music, film, and sound, especially as framed by sexuality, race, ethnicity, and commercial culture. My research is influenced by my professional work as a composer (in choral, instrumental, and film music); in animation (at Pixar); in independent and documentary film (as a composer and filmmaker); and in recording and music production (on albums, films, and television).
I am a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Recording Academy, and the Motion Picture Editors Guild. I am a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. I have taught and lectured at universities in the US and the UK. The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Papers archive is held in Special Collections at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge. It includes scores, 500 hours of recordings, and 100 hours of video.