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Dave Soldier


Dave Soldier played violin in Western swing bands and guitar in rhythm and blues groups, including Bo Diddley, and studied composition with Roscoe Mitchell before moving to New York City in 1981, where he studied with Otto Luening. In 1985, he founded the seminal punk chamber group, the Soldier String Quartet, followed by the punk Delta blues band, the Kropotkins. In addition to compositions for classical musicians ranging from solo works to two large operas, with conservationist Richard Lair, Soldier co-founded the Thai Elephant Orchestra, consisting of 16 elephants in Northern Thailand, for which he built giant musical instruments. He has coached children to compose their own music in Harlem (Da Hiphop Raskalz), Brooklyn (the Tangerine Awkestra), Washington Heights, and northern Guatemala. In addition to repertoire for these groups, Soldier’s compositions include The People’s Choice Music: the most wanted and unwanted songs, following poll results of likes and dislikes of the American population, a collaboration with artists Komar & Melamid; to song cycle collaborations with author Kurt Vonnegut; music on specially designed instruments by songbirds and pygmy chimpanzees; music performed by electrical brain activity in the Brainwave Music Project with Brad Garton: arrangements for John Cale, David Byrne, and Guided by Voices, and various song cycles /oratorios/ operas and TV and film soundtracks including I Shot Andy Warhol and Sesame Street, and has played on many pop, jazz, experimental, and classical recordings. Soldier received a Ph.D in neuroscience at Columbia University, where he is a professor in the Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience departments. His book "Music Math and Mind" on the physics and neuroscience of music is published by Columbia University Press (2021).

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