Donald Swearingen is an Oakland, California-based composer, performer, multimedia artist, and designer of interactive software and electronic systems for live performance and installation. A classically trained pianist with an ear to the radio, he was drawn to popular music in his teens and early twenties, working for 10 years in the Memphis music industry at such legendary studios as Stax and Hi Records, both as a touring performer and a recording artist. There, his work with studio electronics and modular synthesizers reoriented his focus, and he turned to the academic world, where he pursued interdisciplinary studies in computer music, mathematics, electronics, and physics, followed by advanced degrees in mathematics and computer science. The San Francisco Bay area seemed the logical next step.
For the past 20 years, his activities have centered around the use of movement and gesture as the source of media control in an expanded, computer-assisted performance environment, employing instruments and software of his own design. He has also designed instruments and software for other artists, including Pamela Z, Dohee Lee, Miya Masaoka, Guillermo Galindo, and many others. He is a founder and member of the advisory board of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, and was a featured performer in its 10th season series in 2012.
Swearingen has lectured and taught courses in sound applications for multimedia and media networks in the Multimedia Studies Program at San Francisco State University and CSU East Bay, and has written on the subjects of computer networks, electronic music and MIDI for BYTE Magazine, Ylem, and the ACM Journal.
He was the software architect and developer of the R2 Acoustical Analyzer for LucasFilm Ltd. THX, and the D2 Acoustical Analyzer for AcoustX, and has provided consulting and software development services for clients such as Furman / Panamax, Yahoo, YouSendIt, Aplia, Wind River Systems, Telenetworks, Next Level Communications, and Network Equipment Technologies.