Lejaren Hiller was born in New York on February 23, 1924. He studied piano with Harvey Brown, oboe with Joseph Marx, composition with Harvey Officer , Milton Babbitt, Roger Sessions and Hubert Kessler. He attended Princeton University (B.A. 1944, M.A. 1946, PhD. 1947), majoring in chemistry, and minoring in music. He also later obtained a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois (1958). He worked for E.I. duPont de Nemours as a research chemist in synthetic fibers and polymers (1947-1952), and in the Chemistry Department of the University of Illinois (1952-58). All the while, he composed music in many media, efforts which culminated in the writing of the Illiac Suite in 1957, the first computer music. In 1958, he organized the Experimental Music Studio of the University of Illinois. From 1958 to 1968, he was Professor of Music, Director of the Electronic Music Studio and Co-Director of the University of Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players. In 1968, he became the first permanent Frederick B. Slee Professor of Music at the State University of New York at Buffalo with an adjunct appointment as Professor of Computer Science. At Buffalo, he was also Co-Director, with Lukas Foss, of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts, widely known for its “Evenings for New Music.”
He is the author of 3 books: “Experimental Music” (co-authored with Leonard Isaacson), “Principles of Chemistry” (co-authored with Rolfe H. Herter) and “Informationstheorie und Computermusik” and some 60 articles in chemistry, music, electronics, and so forth; he also composed some 50 scores in all media: instrumental, electronic, computer generated, for theater, film and TV.
Lejaren Hiller died in 1994.