Childhood and Musical Beginnings
On April 30th, 1979, I was born to Jan and Danna Mongoven in La Jolla, California. I spent the first 18 years of my life in the pleasant coastal city of Carlsbad, where I attended public schools. At the age of ten, I began to take electric guitar lessons and write music. At that time, I was engrossed in heavy metal and played in a band with my brother Cory and two other friends. In seventh grade, my interests rapidly shifted towards classical music. In high school, I took composition lessons with Nathaniel Tull Phillips, who at that time was a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego. In the summer of 1995, I attended the now defunct National High School Music Institute at Northwestern University. The following summer, I attended Interlochen Arts Camp, where I first learned about the Fibonacci sequence.
Studies in Instrumental Composition in Boston
In 1997, I began studying Classical Composition at New England Conservatory under Alan Fletcher. In my first semester, I began working on my first composition in which I utilized the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio, Sequence for Violin and Piano. During the course of my undergraduate studies, I completed two theoretical articles on Fibonacci pitch class sequences. Near the end of my studies, I began to take interest in a more radical approach to composition in which the mathematical objects I was working with could be more deeply embedded into musical structures. The first step was to create a system of equal temperaments derived from the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence.
Years Abroad and Studies in Weimar
Upon graduation from the conservatory, I moved to Vienna, Austria, where I lived for a year and took intensive courses in German and Italian. During that time I created my first true sonifications (musical graphs) of Fibonacci-related mathematical objects, Beatty Sequence nos. 1a and 1b. After a brief stay in California, where I continued to produce sonifications, I moved to Berlin, Germany, on New Year's Eve 2002. Supporting myself by teaching English, I lived and composed in various cities over the next several years: Munich, Halle (Saale), Leipzig, and Hamburg. I became an avid reader of German theoretical treatises from various time periods. In 2007, I began graduate studies in Electroacoustic Composition under Robin Minard at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar. There, I began to produce synchronized visualizations with my sonifications and created my first installations as well.
Doctoral Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
In 2009, after completing my studies in Weimar, I moved back to California to begin studies in Media Arts and Technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). In 2012, a translation I carried out with musicologist Benedikt Brilmayer of Johann David Heinichen's Gründliche Anweisung (1711) was published by Pendragon Press. In 2013, I carried out the first scientific experiment designed to determine the aesthetic significance of the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio in the audio domain. As far as I have been able to determine, this was also the first scientific experiment carried out by a composer or artist on the aesthetic value of his or her work. The experiment is detailed in my dissertation "An Experiment in the Aesthetic Value of Sonified Mathematical Objects" (Doctoral Advisor: Curtis Roads), which also undertakes the most thorough analysis of the utilization of the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio in classical music ever carried out. Shortly after the completion of my PhD in the summer of 2013, two translations that I had produced in 2012 of Andreas Werckmeister's Cribrum musicum (1700) and Harmonologia musica (1702) were published by Pendragon Press.
After a two-year stint as Lecturer teaching German in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I recently left my post in order to pursue my passion for composition and research. I am currently working as a freelance web designer and skydiving instructor (USPA AFF-I, TAN-I, License: D-33972, Awards: A-W1K-7662, A-12FF-5921) at Skydive Santa Barbara in Lompoc, CA. I keep actively involved with the music and research community. I am a member of the research group EPӔG (Ergonomics, Psychological Ӕsthetics, Gestaltung), headed by Claus-Christian Carbon in the Department of General Psychology and Methodology at the Universität Bamberg in Germany.