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.