John Ritz is a composer, improviser, experimental music performer, sound artist, and educator. He is a proponent of interdisciplinary arts and collaborates regularly with visual and performing artists. His recent concert music focuses on chamber music for instruments and interactive computer systems. He has received recognitions for his work from the ASCAP/Morton Gould Composer Awards, the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition, the 21st Century Piano Commission Competition, the Forum Biennial Musiques en Scène, and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States.
Ritz's music has been performed throughout the United States, as well as in France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Canada, and Chile. His music has been performed at various conferences and festivals, including the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the Bourges International Festival of Electroacoustic Music (IMEB), the Electroacoustic Music Festival of Santiago, Chile (CECh), the Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC), the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF), the Missouri Experimental Sonic Arts Festival (MOXsonic), the Spark Festival of New Music and Art, the San Diego New Music and Arts Festival, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival (FEMS), Electronic Music Midwest (EMM), and the Maverick New Music and Arts Festival.
Ritz received his BA from the University of Iowa, where he studied composition with Lawrence Fritts and cello with Charles Wendt, and his MM and DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied composition with Erik Lund, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Vinko Globokar, Agostino Di Scipio and Scott A. Wyatt. In addition to teaching music theory and electroacoustic music courses at UIUC, Ritz was an active researcher in the Cultural Computing Program, an interdisciplinary research initiative within the Siebel Center for Computer Science that combines the arts and humanities (Art and Design Department, School of Music, Dance Department, Theater Department, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Krannert Art Museum) with science and technology (Computer Science Department, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, National Center for Supercomputing Applications) to create and transform culture with computers. Major areas of focused research included intelligent performance spaces, including gesture tracking and analysis, and real-time control of audio, video, lighting and scenery; intelligent instruments, including computer-augmented instruments and new interfaces for performance; game research, including the development of gaming as an art form; collaboration tools, including communication models and modalities for distributed spaces; and cultural access, including tools for the creation of multimedia works of art.