“Motel rooms had lost their punch for him…”

ashley2.jpgIt’s official: my next book will be on the life and works of Robert Ashley, one of my favorite composers, and one of my favorite people on the planet. It’s for the University of Illinois Press’s series on American composers, the first two of which are excellent books on John Cage (by David Nicholls) and Lou Harrison (by Leta Miller). I’ve gotten sucked into the short-book industry. I’m still grinding away on that Music After Minimalism book, which is a huge project and keeps changing shape, but it has seemed professionally expedient for me to get a few books out quickly, so I’m reluctantly letting myself get sidetracked. But what an inviting sidetrack: every time I hang out with Bob Ashley (which I’ve been doing since 1979) I get a buzz off of his laidback enthusiasm. Great man, great composer, vastly misunderstood, so I’ll get to add a lot more new information to the world than I did in John Cage’s 4’33” (coming out in the fall).


  1. says

    I will truly be looking forward to this book! Ashley and Jacqueline Humbert performed some excerpts from his operas here in Vancouver, BC about 8 years ago, and it was one of the best live concerts I had ever attended. Cool, suave, wry, ironic, and completely on top of his game, he just keeps getting better with age. I can only make sense of just a fraction of his work, but like Joyce he keeps rewarding you with repeated exposure.

  2. Bob Gilmore says

    You have a timeline already? I’m doing one in the same series on Phill Niblock, and wouldn’t mind a race to the finish line.
    KG replies: Careful, I write 4000 words a day. But more may depend in this case on how easy the data is to extract from the subject. No matter what good musicology jockeys we are, we’re only as fast as our horses.

  3. Brian Jennings says

    Count me in as excited also. Ever since I was introduced to his music in the early 80’s, he has been one of my favorite composers whose work I look forward to with great anticipation. A book on him and his work is sorely needed, and you’re just the composer… oops,writer to do it.