studied music and mathematics at Wesleyan University (BA 1965), then received degrees in musicology (MM 1971) and composition-theory (DMA 1976) from the University of Illinois. Among his teachers were Charles Hamm in musicology and Ben Johnston, Kenneth Gaburo and Herbert Brün. He has been associated with John Cage as both performer and scholar; he played in the world premiere of HPSCHD and has several times directed productions of Cage’s Song Books. Brooks taught at the University of Illinois (1969-73) and at the University of California (1973-7), then worked as a freelance composer, scholar and performer before returning to the University of Illinois (1987). There he was Associate Professor of Composition, director of the Contemporary Chamber Singers, and Chair of the Composition-Theory Division for many years. In 2000 he took up his present post at the University of York.
- Committees: Research Committee (chair), Finance Committee (chair), Senior Management Team, University of York Sound Archive
- Director: The 24
- American music
- Popular music
- Experimental music
- Music and culture
- Music and memory
- Extended vocal techniques
- Musical theatre and film musicals
- Quotation and reference
- Mutable (open) forms
Since 2009, Brooks has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Orpheus Research Centre in Music, Ghent, Belgium, where he also serves as chair of the Editorial Board.
He is a member of the American Musicological Society, of the Society for Composers, Inc., and of the Society for
American Music, where he serves on the editorial board.
- Newberry Library Short-term Fellowship, Newberry Library, Chicago, 2006.
- Mendel Fellowship, Lilly Library, University of Indiana, Bloomington, 2006.
- Arts and Humanities Research Council Extended Leave, 2006.
- Associate, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 1994.
- Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Music Composition, 1986.
- National Endowment for the Arts Composer's Fellowship, 1982.
- Smithsonian Institution Research Fellow, 1979-80.
- Fulbright-Hays Senior Professor of American Music, University of Keele, 1977.