MacArthur Fellows Program


Sound Sculptor and Composer | Class of 1997

Sound Sculptor and Composer
Seattle, Washington
46 at time of award
Published July 1, 1997

About Trimpin's Work

Trimpin is an instrument builder, composer, and sound sculptor who merges traditional musical instrumentation with computer sound generation.

With an amalgam of junked musical instruments and computers, Trimpin has created beautiful sound and music-making machines for over twenty years.  Although his instruments are often computer driven, the sounds they make are acoustical rather than electronic.  "Floating Klompen" and "Liquid Percussion” are two examples of his polyrhythmic sound sculptures.  Rather than making a piece that fits classical modes of development and closure, he programs a set of possible sound sequences into pleasing works of sound sculpture.  He has given performances, and his installations have been shown widely in North America and Europe.  He has received numerous grants and commissions for permanent installations as well.


Since 1979, Trimpin has lived and worked in Seattle, Washington.  His early musical training was halted by a medical condition, and he apprenticed in electromechanical engineering (1966-73).  He became interested in the acoustics of stage sets while working with the playwright Samuel Beckett and the director of the San Quentin Drama Workshop, Rick Cluchey.  He co-chaired the electronic music department of the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam (1985-87).

Trimpin received an M.A (1979) from the University of Berlin.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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