Tag Archive for lucier

Lucier’s 90th Birthday Celebrated with 90 Artists Recording “I’m Sitting in a Room”

Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier

In honor of revolutionary composer, experimental musician, and professor emeritus Alvin Lucier‘s 90th birthday, several Wesleyan faculty, staff, and alumni participated in a 27-hour-long performance of Lucier’s paradigmatic work “I Am Sitting in a Room.” Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, emeritus, retired from Wesleyan in 2010 and earned a Master of Arts ad eundem gradum from Wesleyan in 1979.

Lucier personally chose 90 colleagues, friends, and former students to participate in the event, of which 15 are acquaintances from his time at Wesleyan. The concert spanned from 8 p.m. Thursday, May 13 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 14 and some segments are available for viewing online.

Wesleyan-affiliated faculty, staff, and alumni who participated include Ronald Kuivila, professor of music; Sumarsam, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music; Paula Matthusen, associate professor of music; Mark Slobin, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, emeritus; Jane Alden, associate professor of music; Jennifer Thom Hadley ’84, MA ’86, World Music Archives library assistant; Alec McLane, retired music librarian; Nestor Prieto MA ’12; K.C.M. Walker MA ’12; Jessica Marino MA ’13; James Peter Falzone MA ’19; Heidi Aklaseaq Senungetuk MA ’12, PhD ’17; Douglas Simon ’69, MA ’71; Dina Maccabee MA’15; and Akiko Hatakeyama MA ’11.

Each of the guests recorded the same speech using their own voice and space: “I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now,” they said. “I am recording the sound of my speaking voice, and I am going to play it back into the room again and again, until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed.”

Then, the guest artists would repeatedly play and rerecord their taped voice, with each recording sharing more resonant characteristics of the space.

Lucier made the original recording in 1970, and no recordings of “I’m Sitting in a Room” are alike.

Learn more about Lucier in this May 11 New York Times article.

Nestor Prieto MA '12

Nestor Prieto MA ’12, a Venezuelan-born composer, sound artist, and multi-instrumentalist living in Middletown, Conn., met Lucier in 2011 at Wesleyan. His work centers on the implementation of obsolete audio technology, improvisation, and manipulation of found sound and speech. Prieto also performed in Vespers, with the original Sondols, as part of Lucier’s 80th birthday celebration.

lucier

Paula Matthusen, associate professor of music, is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered.

Wesleyan U. Press Publishes Lucier’s Notes on Experimental Music Book

Book by Alvin Lucier.

Book by Alvin Lucier.

Alvin Lucier, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, is the author of Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music, published by Wesleyan University Press, 2012.

In this insider’s view, composer and performer Lucier brings clarity to the world of experimental music as he takes the reader through more than a hundred groundbreaking musical works, including those of Robert Ashley, John Cage, Charles Ives, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Christian Wolff and La Monte Young.

Lucier explains in detail how each piece is made, unlocking secrets of the composers’ style and technique. The book as a whole charts the progress of American experimental music from the 1950s to the present, covering such topics as indeterminacy, electronics, and minimalism, as well as radical innovations in music for the piano, string quartet and opera.

Slate Book Review Praises Lucier’s Experimental Music Book

Book by Alvin Lucier.

Book by Alvin Lucier.

Wesleyan University Press’s Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music by Alvin Lucier was named an “Overlooked Book” of 2012 by the Slate Book Review. Lucier is the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, emeritus.

In the article published Nov. 28, the Slate Book Review critics suggested “20 great books you never heard about—but should’ve.”

Slate editorial assistant J. Bryan Lowder writes, “Gleaned from Lucier’s long-taught contemporary music course (No. 109) at Wesleyan, Music 109 is, indeed, Lucier’s notes, clippings from a lifetime spent making, performing, and, most importantly, listening to the ‘classical’ music of our era. For John Cage and other post-WWII composers, what was in question was the arresting, awe-inspiring possibilities of sound itself. Why bother with full-blown symphonies when just as much beauty may reside in more intimate forms—amplified brain waves, for instance, or a darkened room filled with bat-like sonar clicks. Even four minutes and 33 seconds of so-called silence can have its own kind of harmony. Music like this rewards a childlike spirit of curiosity, an appreciation of nuance, and an openness to surprise; it is often deceptively simple, and unfortunately, as Lucier writes, ‘simple things often get misunderstood.’ For those with the ears to hear, however, Lucier’s warm prose will sound a few notes of welcome clarity.”

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.

Celebration, Participatory Installation to Honor Lucier’s 40-Year Career

Alvin Lucier (photo by Amanda Lucier)

For 40 years, Alvin Lucier, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, 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.

His recent works include a series of sound installations and works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which, by means of close tunings with pure tones, sound waves are caused to spin through space.

On Nov. 4-6, the Music Department and Center for the Arts will celebrate Lucier’s remarkable musical career and contributions. Lucier retires this June.

The celebration will be held over Homecoming/Family weekend. It will include a symposium, concerts and Zilkha Gallery exhibition titled, “Alvin Lucier and His Artist Friends,” curated by Andrea Miller-Keller.