Alvin Lucier’s Career Celebrated through Installation, Performance

For 40 years, Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, emeritus, has pioneered music composition and performance, including the notation of performers’ physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes.

On Nov. 4-6, the Music Department and Center for the Arts celebrated Lucier’s remarkable musical career and contributions. Lucier retired in June 2010. Photos of the event are below. (Information provided by Andy Chatfield, press and marketing manager for the CFA)

Patrons explore the exhibit "Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends)" during the opening reception in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Nov. 5. The exhibit, curated by Andrea Miller-Keller, includes audio recordings, video, scores and album/CD artwork of musical compositions; selected works by other artists that have inspired or been inspired by Lucier's work, or exchanged ideas with the composer in meaningful ways; and memorabilia and ephemera of historical interest in the life and career of Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, emeritus. The exhibit is on display through Dec. 11.

Guest curator Andrea Miller-Keller and Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, emeritus, pose in front of a photo of Lucier titled "The Big Catch." The photo was taken on the Colorado River in 2010 and is part of the exhibit "Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends)."

A patron observes an installation of Lucier's "Music for Pure Waves, Bass Drums, and Acoustic Pendulums" (1980) as part of the exhibit "Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends)." A single sound wave flows through loudspeakers positioned behind four standing bass drums. As they do so, ping-pong balls, suspended in front of the drums, are caused to bounce away from the drumheads in unpredictable ways.

A patron listens to the sound of Arctic and New York Bight whales inside a Conch Shell from Bali, submitted by Ann Warde MA '85 as part of the installation "Chambers: In Honor of Alvin Lucier, sound in large and small resonant environments" (1968). This new version of "Chambers" is a compilation of individual works, each submitted as a tribute to Lucier by his former students. Lucier himself contributed a thimble with audio of the Cologne Hauptbahnhof, a well-known component of his earlier "Chambers." Ron Kuivila, professor of music, and a former student of Lucier, organized this installation.

Wesleyan students participate in a flash mob presentation of Alvin Lucier's "Chambers" outside of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Nov. 5 during Homecoming/Family Weekend. This was the conclusion of the flash mob, led by Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen. The flash mob travelled up Foss Hill and around Andrus Field on their way to the opening reception for the exhibit "Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends)."

The West End String Quartet (violinists Jessica Meyer, Sarah Washborn; violist John Biatowas, and cellist Carlynn Savot) and pianist and Professor of Music Neely Bruce on stage in Crowell Concert Hall Nov. 6. Bruce is acknowledging composer Gordon Mumma, following the musicians' performance of Mumma's work "Abrupted Edges" (2011) during the Lucier Celebration Concert IV: "Tributes." The concert, which also included compositions by Bruce, Alvin Lucier, Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Pauline Oliveros and Christian Wolff, was the conclusion of the festival "Alvin Lucier: A Celebration" during Homecoming/Family Weekend. (Photos by Nick Lacy and Nam Anh Ta '12)