Lanier Sammons

Field near Stonehenge


Lanier Sammons is a composer, recordist, guitarist, and educator based in Santa Cruz, CA. As a composer, Lanier’s music often explores ideas like audience interactivity, improvisation, the intersection of popular and classical musics, and the pairing of electronic and acoustic sound.  His works have been featured at SEAMUS, the Spark Festival, and on EcoSono’s Agents Against Agency DVD release.  Lanier served as the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History's first Participatory Performing Artist-in-Residence and as an Art Works Resident. Ensembles such as the Talujon Percussion Quartet, counter)induction, the Da Capo Chamber Players, and Rêlache have premiered his pieces.
As a recordist, Lanier teaches recording technology at California State University, Monterey Bay along with other topics.  His students have worked with an array of artists including Greg Brown, Beso Negro, and Wes Swing.  Lanier's recent recording projects include producing Giacomo Fiore's iv: american electric guitars and producing and mixing Post-Haste Reed Duo's debut album.  Music techology also plays a key role in Lanier's compositional output, which includes works using Max/MSP, sensors, LIDAR, multi-channel audio, and a range of visual elements.


As a performer, Lanier explores multiple genres on electric guitar, classical guitar, and other instruments. He performed for four years with the University of Virginia New Music Ensemble, and he was a member of Dzian!, who revived vintage rock from Southeast Asia.  Lanier has premiered works by Ted Coffey, Paul Turowski, and Conner Lacy and has shared the stage with musicians like Fred Firth and Christian Wolff.  Lanier is also a member of Sadza, who play Shona marimba music.


Lanier defended his dissertation, Audience Interactivity and the Concert Hall Audience, in April 2012.  He received his Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies from the University of Virginia in May 2012.  Other research interests include film and video game music, the relationship between play and composition, and new music for the electric guitar.  He studied composition with Bonnie Miksch, Arthur Kampela, Brad Garton, Joseph Dubiel, George Edwards, Ted Coffey, Judith Shatin, and Matthew Burtner.