Born March 8, 1934 in Nice, France; lived
mostly in U.S. since 1941; U.S. citizen since 1946. Studied piano with
Grete Sultan, composition (briefly) with John Cage. Mostly autodidact,
but early contact with Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Earle Brown,
later Cornelius Cardew and Frederic Rzewski has helped form the direction
of his work. Academic training in Classics and Comparative Literature
at Harvard University. Has taught Classics at Harvard and, since 1971,
Classics, Comparative Literature and Music at Dartmouth College (Hanover,
Compositions include works for piano(s),
miscellaneous keyboards, instrumental solos, chamber groups, unspecified
groups of players and sound sources, tape, chorus and orchestra.
A particular interest in Wolff's
work has been to allow performers flexibility and ranges of freedom at
the actual time of a piece's performance; to devise notations to make
this practicable; to foster among both professional and lay players a
spirit of liberating interdependence; and to draw material from traditions
of popular political music.
Wolff's music has been performed throughout the world, especially in Europe
and the U.S. A number of pieces have been used by Merce Cunningham and
his dance company; also the dancer Lucinda Childs. Music publisher: C.F.
Peters, New York. Recordings on: Columbia-Odyssey, Vox, Time-Mainstream,
Wergo, Centaur, Elektrola, EMI CRI, Opus One, Philo, EMI-TOCI, Collecta,
Hat Hut, Mode, Koch International, Time-Scraper, Content. Writings on
music collected in: Cues Writings and Conversations (published
by MusikTexte, Cologne).
Christian Wolff has performed as an improviser with Takehisa Kosugi, Steve
Lacy, Christian Marclay, Kui Dong and Larry Polansky.
Award from the American Academy and National Institute for Arts and Letters
(1975); DAAD, Berlin (1974); Asian Cultural Council Grant (1987); John
Cage award for music (1996); member of the Akademie der Kuenste, Berlin