Composer, Performer, Author


The Chocolate Ear


Listen To Online Recordings

The Continents – Music for Fixed Media

Symbiotica A Cross-Cultural Mixup Vols. 1 & 2

Incidents of Sudden Awareness – Music for Fixed Media

The Musical Landscape

A Piano Album

Space and Time – Music for Violin and Piano

String Quartets Nos. 3 and 4

Listen – Music for Fixed Media

Five Natures

Space is Everywhere for Fixed Media – An Online Recording

Change is Here to Stay – Music for Digital Piano and Electronics

Keyboard Etudes for Synthesizers – (Enhanced 2012 Version)

View Online Music Videos

A Natural Life for Piano Solo with Recorded Nature Sounds and Projected Images withn a Frame (2005)

I Am Nature  (Text and Music by John Holland) (2012)

Visitations of J.S.Bach (2010)

The Moby Dick in All of Us (2010) (Music, John Holland / Video, Stephanie Cardon)

Online Writing

Curious: An Introduction to Big Ideas in Nature, Science, and Art

The Chicken and the Egg – Collected Writings on Nature, Science, and Art

If a Tree Falls in the Forest – Simple Descriptions of Complex Phenomena

Ten By Ten – Artificial Intelligence Models and True False Statements

The Violin Player – for Speaking Voice


You’re Too Smart for Your Own Good
Why American Culture is so Uncomfortable with Knowledge

Collaborative Texts

Cultural Evolution
with members of The Nature and Inquiry Artist’s Group

A. I. Model No. 1: Creativity
with Mary Briggs

Epochs of Consciousness
with Amy Robinson

Quantum Wave Theory – A Model of Unity in Nature
with Amy Robinson

The Path of Sound – A Trilogy

The Path of Sound – A Trilogy combines Sound Waves and Their Properties in the Surrounding Medium, Studies on the Human Ear, and the newly published The Musical Brain. Together they follow sound patterns from their source, through the air, into the ear, to the brain. The Path of Sound is available in its complete form as an online resource (freely available online). In addition, an updated version of Time, including literary quotes that accompany the explanatory text, is also available online.

view the complete The Path of Sound – A Trilogy
Time Expanded

read aloud from the  
Complete Short Texts for Speaking Voiice

On the steps of the Herman Melville house in the Berkshires.

John Holland is a composer, author, performer, and recording artist. He is Professor Emeritus in the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Holland headed the Electronic Music Studio and taught music and performance classes before he retired from teaching in 2009.

Holland’s music has been performed largely in Boston and New York. He has produced a number of recordings, and has published musical scores for most solo instruments (with and without digital modification), chamber music, songs, music for orchestra, concertos, operas.

For a number of years Holland has produced a ‘live’ music series in Boston, New Music at the Pozen Center, that mixes contemporary and electronic music with innovative performative features. In addition he is founder and producer of The Chocolate Ear music podcast.

Holland founded the American Soundgroup in 1974 which was in residence at Massachusetts College of Art and Design from 1975 to 1985.

John Holland is a pioneer of the modern intersection between art and science. In the early 1980’s Holland co-founded Nature and Inquiry, an artists group that met weekly to discuss ideas in art and science. The group has presented work at the MIT Media Lab, the Harvard Smithsonian Observatory, Habitat Institute, and Copley Society of Art. He also taught a class for three decades that introduced artists to leading-edge ideas in science (see Curious).

Holland has produced many online recordings, including Symbiotica – A Cross-Cultural Mixup Vols. 1 and 2., The Continents, Listen, and The Musical Landscape. The Adam and Eve Diaries, A Web Opera based on Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve is perhaps the first opera of its kind to be composed for the Web.

In many of these recordings, there are original complementary texts that precede various musical pieces and that were intended to be read aloud in a ‘live’ setting. The texts complement the music in ways that may change the way we hear the music.

Writings, including The Chicken and the Egg – A Collection of writings on Nature, Science, and Art, Curious: An Introduction to Big Ideas in Nature,Science, and ArtQuantum Wave Theory: A Model of Unity in Nature, and Ten By Ten: Artificial Intelligence Models Accompanied by True or False Statements have been designed specifically as online artworks.

Published books include: If A Tree Falls In The Forest: Simple Descriptions of Complex Phenomena, The Nature of Music for the Performing Musician, Time, Sound Waves and Their Properties in the Surrounding Media, and Studies on the Human Ear. 

Holland has created performance texts designed to be read aloud, including Phenomena: Simple Descriptions of Complex Phenomena, Complete Short Texts for Speaking Voice, Strategies for Survival (with Complementary Music), and Facts of Life (with Complementary Music), all of which contain subjects related to nature, science and art.

In 1997 Holland produced the first comprehensive full color poster-size Acoustic Wave Spectrum. It was later presented at the MIT Media Lab and in 2007 producer and composer DJ Spooky attached it to his audio CD companion to Sound Unbound.

John Schaefer, host of New Sounds on WNYC Radio in New York cited Holland’s Natural Phenomena as “one of the notable CD’s of 2005.” Richard Perry, music critic, writes “Mr. Holland’s music has a compelling, insistent fascination…” Tia Kimberk says “John Holland’s music is often based on extra-musical ideas related to science and nature. Listening to the music informs us about ourselves and our larger context in the world.” In 1982 Holland was interviewed on National Public Radio for his recording of Music for a Small Planet in Three Parts.

The composer’s scores and texts are published by American Sound Press.
Recordings are produced by American Sound Recordings.

Online recordings (mp3’s) and Online Writing (pdf’s) are freely available, and whenever possible presented without advertisement.

all content © 2000 John Holland