A Video of Nothing


Microtonal pianist Aron Kallay alerts me to a YouTube video of him playing part of the "Nothing" movement from my Echoes of Nothing. The full movement is a few minutes longer (and, there's kind of a superfluous one-minute intro to this five-minute video). … [Read more...]

An Avant-Gardist Anticipated

Janacek Mass-II

Below is a page from Conlon Nancarrow's Piece No. 2 for Small Orchestra of 1986. If it is sufficiently readable here, you may be able to see that the different instruments are in three meters at once: some in 5/8, some in 6/8, and some in 7/8. Very difficult to play convincingly, because part of the orchestra will be playing every fourth 8th-note in the 7/8 while others are playing every third 8th-note in 5/8, and so on. The conductor gives the downbeat of each measure, and the poor sods have to fit their 5 or 7 into it as best they … [Read more...]

Oops, Too Late


Apparently the Utrecht Wind Ensemble played the second movement of my piano concerto Sunken City in Utrecht at their concert of last Saturday night, along with works by Stravinsky, Donnacha Dennehy and others: I remember they had contacted me about the possibility several months ago, but hadn't heard anything more. They have a short audio clip at their general web site. Don't know why only one movement, but it's the "serious" one.   … [Read more...]

Earle Brown in Shifting Perspectives


My old friend Tony DeRitis, composer and chair of music at Northeastern University, took the above nice photo of me and Carolyn Brown at that school's Earle Brown symposium over the weekend. Long-time Merce Cunningham dancer and Earle's first wife, Carolyn was making some meltingly gratifying comments about my 4'33" book. The previous day she had publicly presented a touchingly personal story of her life with Earle: he had fallen in love with her at age 12 (she was 11) in Lunenberg, Mass., where she was his best friend's sister. Carolyn's … [Read more...]

An Improvising Conductor Gets His Due


Friday morning at Northeastern University in Boston, I'll be giving the keynote address for Beyond Notation: An Earle Brown Symposium. Though I'd met him a few times, Brown is someone whose music I had never studied in detail, and it's been revelatory getting to know it better. Just hope I come up with something insightful to say, because the experts start talking after I finish.   … [Read more...]

Glass as Romantic (1981-Style)

I'm back from the Einstein on the Beach festivities in Amsterdam, and Friday at 3 I'll be giving a reading from my 4'33" book at the National Academy Museum in New York City. [No, I won't stand there without saying anything. Ha-ha.] UPDATE: You can ignore the following. Frank Oteri wants to put my Einstein analysis on New Music Box, where it will reach a wider audience. Going commercial, at whatever modest level, is always better than going academic when you have the chance, if you can do so without compromises. So I've pulled the article … [Read more...]