Concert Etiquette of the Greats

I've been interviewing my good friend Bill Duckworth for an eventual biography or something. He told me about meeting Virgil Thomson in the late '70s. David Stock was giving one of his new music concerts in Pittsburgh, and Duckworth and Thomson were the featured composers. After the pre-concert dinner, Thomson put his arm around Bill and said, "Young man, don't take it personally when you look at me during your performance tonight and see that I've fallen asleep. If you look at me during my piece, I will be asleep then too." Bill says, "And I … [Read more...]

Meeting of Minds


The current issue of the journal American Music (Volume 29, No. 1) contains an article by my Serbian musicologist friend Dragana Stojanovic-Novicic titled "The Carter-Nancarrow Correspondence." It will doubtless be available on the web via JSTOR soon, and if you're not in academia (we professors can access it for free), a private subscription to JSTOR would be well worth the money; I'd say 85% of the footnotes in my scholarly writing lately are references to articles i've found there. Dragana is the person who has gone most thoroughly through … [Read more...]

Vertiginously Relative

After giving my lecture on Feldman at yesterday's Feldman festival being presented in Philly by Bowerbird, I spent a half-hour talking to - Feldman's niece! Feldman's personality was so universally described as "avuncular" that I told her she must be one of the most effectively uncle-d people in history. She remembered, as a humiliating experience for a 13-year-old, Feldman (and Cage) being booed in 1964 when Leonard Bernstein performed their music with the Philharmonic. And when I told her that I considered her uncle the greatest composer of … [Read more...]

Upcoming Appearances

This Sunday at 4:30 I'm giving a lecture on Morton Feldman as part of American Sublime, Bowerbird's two-weekend tribute to Feldman with performances of several of his most important late works. I come at the end of an all-afternoon series of talks by Feldman experts, of whom I am probably the least knowledgeable - and I know a few things. That event is at Nexus at CraneArts, 1400 N American Street in Philadelphia. Later in the month, the West End String Quartet will be giving four performances of my Concord Spiral in four cities over two … [Read more...]