Well, the Second International Conference on Minimalist Music committee has gone through all the paper proposals, and we’ve put together a program of about 56 papers. It’s a stunner. I’m really proud of the lineup, especially because it exhibits an intelligently varied yet limited range of minimalism. Yes, there are ten papers that talk about Steve Reich, but there are no fewer than four on Phill Niblock (!), two on Julius Eastman, also two each on Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Arvo Pärt, one each on Jim Fox, David Borden, Michael Torke, Jim Tenney, and Charlemagne Palestine. (Not that Niblock doesn’t merit it, quite the contrary, he’s a vastly influential underground figure; but I’m impressed that so many academics latched on to someone so quintessentially Downtown, in all literal and metaphorical senses.) We have musicologists coming from the UK, Canada, Belgium, Australia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, and France. There are even papers on minimalist aspects of Morton Feldman and Milton Babbitt – we could have turned down the latter in good conscience, but I’m just too curious. And the performance part of the conference is geared around little-known but often historic early minimalist works: an early Terry Riley piece that’s only been played twice before, some rare Tom Johnson opuses, my own reconstructions of 1959 Dennis Johnson and 1982 Harold Budd, performances by Palestine and Mikel Rouse, and a few surprises we’re still cooking up. This is going to come very close to defining minimalism as I hear it: not a watered-down catch-all term that includes everything from Wagner’s Rheingold to Donna Summer, but a true tradition among people who knew each other and exchanged ideas during an intense historical period. It’s the most exciting thing in my immediate future. Kansas City, September 2-6: be there or be neoromantic.
[UPDATE:] Shouldn’t tell you to be there without telling you how: we’ll have registration information up on the web site soon, and I’ll tell you when it’s ready.