This study examines Éliane Radigue’s collaborative compositional practice as an alternative model of creation. Using normative Western classical music mythologies as a backdrop, I interrogate the ways in which Radigue’s creative practice calls into question traditional understandings of creative agency, authorship, reproduction, performance, and the work concept. Based on extensive interviews with the principal performer-collaborators of Radigue’s early instrumental works, I retrace the networks and processes of creation—from the first stages of the initiation process to the transmission of the fully formed composition to other instrumentalists. In doing so, I aim to investigate the ways in which Radigue’s working method resists capitalist models of commodification and reconfigures the traditional hierarchical relationship between composer, score, and performer.
The American composer, performer, and humanitarian Pauline Oliveros performed a two-day Deep Listening Intensive and Sonic Meditation alongside her partner, author and dream specialist Ione, and jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran and his band, the Bandwagon, on April 1 and 2 as part of the 2016 Artists Studio at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. We spoke with Pauline about sound, spirituality, and Donald Trump.
It has been nearly a decade since the last new recording featuring the music of radical Romanian composer Horatiu Radulescu. That 2007 disc, entitled Intimate Rituals, showcased two of Radulescu’s most distinctive works for strings: his Das Andere, Op. 49 for solo viola, and his Intimate Rituals XI, Op. 63 for viola and “sound icon,” his signature “augmented” instrument, a grand piano turned on its side and played with rosined strings. Radulescu was sixty-four years old at the time of that release, and had firmly established himself on the European new music scene as a visionary with an intensely uncompromising approach, self-described as spectralism.
Recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters at the age of 92, Ben Johnston is taking some time to reflect on his life’s work. As a composer who radically pushed the expressive possibilities of non-tempered harmony for over six decades, Johnston holds an important position in 20th-century American music, bridging the gap between Harry Partch’s explorations and centuries-old Western instrumental forms. Johnston spoke to me, with family at his side, from his home in Madison, Wisconsin, where he is battling the late-stage effects of Parkinson’s disease.
Stepping inside the Dia Art Foundation's transformed gallery space in the heart of Chelsea is a special experience in itself. Darkly dressed ushers closely watch over your every move, preserving what is for the average audience member today a strikingly uncommon concert experience. ‘Turn off all cell phones, remove your shoes, and remain completely silent while in the Dream House’. Free of everyday noise and distractions, this unassuming venue is converted into an almost reverential space of mystical quasi-worship. The air is thick with the fragrance of incense and the floor is covered wall-to-wall with plush white carpet. Blends of deep magenta and rich blue light illuminate the space.
The American composer George Crumb lives in an unassuming two-story house, tucked away on an acre plot of land in Media, Pennsylvania, a sleepy suburb of Philadelphia. Recently, he met me at the local train station in his old maroon Toyota, and after a short drive along winding back roads, we arrived at his longtime home. As we pulled into the driveway, a small woman, who I would soon find out to be the spirited Liz Crumb, George’s wife of 67 years, appeared in the doorway. “George, pick up the paper!” she shouted. “Oh, alright” replied the 87-year-old composer in his endlessly endearing, slow, southern drawl.
Complete List of Publications
2022 Fuse, Liquify, Distort: On the Music of Fausto Romitelli, VAN Magazine, Berlin, February 2022, https://van-magazine.com/mag/fausto-romitelli
2021 Imagining Together: Éliane Radigue's Collaborative Creative Process, dissertation, May 2021, https://doi.org/10.7916/d8-9sax-7f65
2019 Imagined Music: The Problem of Deterritorialization, “Sound Arts and Instrumental Music... Composers Facing Digital Deterritorialization” Links journal, CNRS-France, December 2019
2018 The Riddle of Silence: An Interview with Michael Pisaro, VAN Magazine, Berlin, August 2018, https://van-magazine.com/mag/michael-pisaro
2018 I Did That: An Interview with Ben Johnston about this life and music, VAN Magazine, Berlin, April 2018, https://van-magazine.com/mag/ben-johnston
2017 Unified Music: A Profile of George Crumb about his life and music, VAN Magazine, Berlin, January 2017, https://van-magazine.com/mag/george-crumb
2017 Phantoms: An Interview with Ione, VAN Magazine, Berlin, November 2017, https://van-magazine.com/mag/ione
2017 Disappearing Act: On the Music of Horatiu Radulescu, VAN Magazine, Berlin, October 2017, https://van-magazine.com/mag/disappearing-act
2016 Horatiu Radulescu’s Piano Sonatas & Strings Quartets, Vol. 1, Music & Literature, 2016,
2016 Recurring Themes: An Interview with Leila Josefowicz, VAN Magazine, Berlin, November 2016, https://van-magazine.com/mag/leila-josefowicz
2016 “Phill Niblock's ‘Winter Solstice’ at Roulette, Brooklyn, New York.” Tempo (Cambridge University Press) 70, no. 277 (2016): 97–98.
2016 Head On: An Interview with Lukas Ligeti, VAN Magazine, Berlin, August 2016, https://van-magazine.com/mag/lukas-ligeti
2016 “La Monte Young Trio for Strings Original Full Length Version, Dia 15 VI 13 545 West 22 Street Dream House, New York City.” Tempo (Cambridge University Press) 70, no. 275 (2016): 99–100. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0040298215000789
2016 Listening, Not Hearing: An Interview with Pauline Oliveros, VAN Magazine, Berlin, April 2016, https://van-magazine.com/mag/pauline-oliveros
2015 Belgarian, et al. - ‘IV: American Electric Guitars’: Works by Belgarian, Wolff, Porter, Polansky. (elec. guits). - ‘Ruminations’: Ben Johnston. The Tavern; Revised Standards; Parable. John Schneider (voice/guit.), Eclipse String Quartet, Karen Clark (voice), Jim Sullivan (cl.), Sarah Chornblade (vln). MicroFest Records - ‘Hyenas in the Temples of Pleasure’: Andrew McIntosh. Symmetry Etudes V, II, III, IV1; Hyenas in the Temples of Pleasure; Symmetry Etudes I, VI, VII, VIII. James Sullivan (cl.), Brian Walsh (cl.), Andrew McIntosh (vln), Yarn/Wire. Populist Records PR006. Tempo (Cambridge University Press) , 69(272), 84-86. (2015). https://doi.org/10.1017/S004029821400117X
2014 “On Horatiu Radulescu’s 5th String Quartet ‘before the universe was born,’ Op. 89,” Tempo (Cambridge University Press), 68, no. 268 (2014): 34–45. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0040298213001666
Radio interview with Ana-Maria Avram for WKCR-FM New York Afternoon New Music, March 2016
Radio interview with Annea Lockwood for WKCR-FM New York Afternoon New Music, November 2019
2018 “Giacinto Scelsi’s Anahit: A Cognitive Approach to Analysis,” paper given at Music Theory and Music Cognition: A Conference in Honor of Fred Lerdahl, Maison Française, Columbia University, March 2018
2015 “Pitch Organization in Horatiu Radulescu’s 5th String Quartet ‘before the universe was born,’” paper and presentation given at Morzarteum’s Microtones: Small but Beautiful Conference, Salzburg, Austria, July 2015
2013 “Pitch Organization in Horatiu Radulescu’s 5th String Quartet ‘before the universe was born,’” paper and presentation given at University of Huddersfield’s Music and/as Process Conference, Huddersfield, UK, June 2013
Invited Talks and Interviews
2023 "(Re)sounding Voices: Listening to Loss and Decay," presentation on my recent music and scholarship, Institute for Ideas & Imagination, Columbia University Global Center, Reid Hall, Paris, May 2023
2022 "Listen In: Making Music, Making Communities," presentation about my recent music and scholarship, Columbia University Composition Seminar, Columbia Computer Music Center, February 2022
2021 "Listen In: Making Music, Making Communities," presentation about my recent music and scholarship, Temple University Music Studies Colloquium, Presser Hall, Philadelphia, October 2021
2021 "Music and the Collective Awareness," presentation on my recent music and scholarship, American Academy in Rome, March 2021
2019 Radio Interview about my music with Jeff Lagoutte on Fréquence Paris Plurielle 106.3FM and rfpp.net, Paris, July 2019
2019 Lecture on my music delivered at Tel Aviv University Composition Seminar, Tel-Aviv, Israel, April 2019
2018 Portrait on my music by musicologist Jan Nieuwenhuis, translated into French by composer Jonathan Bell and published on L’Education Musicale, Issue No. 22, October 2018
2017 Lecture on my music delivered at Harvard University’s Composition Colloquium, Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 2017
2012 Radio Feature on my collaboration with the London Chorus as part of PRS for Music Foundation’s Adopt the Composer, on BBC Radio 3, London, July 2012
2011 Interview about my music by Clive Cookson on Financial Times Weekly Podcast, FT Science, London, June 2011
Editor-in-Chief of openwork, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes research into experimental music, art and scholarship. Interdisciplinary in scope, our journal promotes new modes of interaction between scholars and practitioners whose work critically re-listens, through and across, boundaries and constraints: 2021-present.
Co-organizer of Radigue at 90 Conference at Columbia University's Global Center in Paris, a two-day symposium that featured papers published in a forthcoming special issue of the journal Contemporary Music Review on Radigue's work, concert performances by Radigue collaborators, as well as new scholarship in the field: May 2023
Editorial Board Member and Peer Reviewer of Current Musicology, a leading journal for scholarly research on music that publishes articles and book reviews in the fields of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and philosophy of music: 2014-2021