Rewards of Musicology

In Ann Arbor I took photos of the houses Robert Ashley grew up in. (Old phone books in libraries, I’ve discovered, are a cheap way to chart history.) I showed him this house on Brookwood where he lived as a teenager – 

and he exclaimed, “I used to sit on that porch and read Mark Twain!” 
I’m proud of being the only musician who ever interviewed Conlon Nancarrow’s brother Charles, and Tuesday I interviewed Ashley’s sister Anne Ward (always called by her first and middle names). (Composers please don’t have your siblings contact me, though, until I express interest.) I also got the first photos ever of me and Ashley, though I’ve known him since 1979. I like that a barely-visible bust of J.S. Bach is looking over us from the upper left, since I’ve been realizing how important Bach was to Ashley’s early conception of musical discipline and symmetry. The books behind us are about the lost island of Atlantis, Giordano Bruno, the Rosicrucians, evidence of North American prehistory, Hindu numerology, and a wild host of occult and arcane subjects:


  1. Jonathan says

    That’s a great picture, Kyle.
    (Wow, Ashley bears a strong resemblance to Elliott Carter)
    KG replies: Oops, did I put up the Carter photo by mistake?
    And I think that’s actually Brian Ferneyhough’s house.