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L to R: I Wayan Sadra, Larry Polansky, Jim Tenney, Laurie Anderson, Roger Reynolds, and Pauline Oliveros working on the manifesto on censorship at the Composer-to-Composer Festival in 1990 in Telluride, CO. Photo by John Fago from the OM Archives.

An archive containing interviews and recordings of music by George Antheil, Henry Cowell, Laurie Anderson, Conlon Nancarrow, Morton Feldman, Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Nicolas Slonimsky, Frank Zappa, and many more, and including rare photographs and documents, will be launched to provide free online public access on January 26, 2024. One of the featured artists will be the renowned violinist Anahid Ajemian, whose first recordings of Lou Harrison, Alan Hovhaness, and John Cage in the 1940s opened a window of opportunity for these then-little-known composers. The release date marks the 100th anniversary of Ajemian’s birth in New York.

The archive, hosted by San Francisco new music organization Other Minds, began with a gift from KPFA Radio in Berkeley to Other Minds of 4,000 audio tapes 25 years ago. Our new platform will give teachers, scholars, and new music aficionados access to our collections of audio and moving images, photographs, and ephemera. Registrants can build and save their own reference collections, and curated exhibits by staff and guests will highlight rare materials and topics of special interest.


Anahid and Maro Ajemian rehearsing at home ca. 1950s. Courtesy of Anahid Ajemian from the OM Archives.

Founded in 1993, Other Minds is a leading proponent for new and experimental music in all its forms, bringing together artists and audiences of diverse traditions, generations, and cultural backgrounds. From festival concerts, weekly radio broadcasts, and the commissioning of new works, to producing and releasing CDs and archival preservation of thousands of concerts and composer interviews, OM has become a major conservator of new music’s ecology.

This is the first time the Other Minds Archives can be accessed by the public in a comprehensive way, allowing a better understanding of the breadth of the archives’ material through collections, event, and object records never before available. Multimedia tools allow for high quality presentation of images, documents, video, and audio.


Conlon Nancarrow adjusting a roll of music in a player piano in his Mexico City home studio in 1977. Photo by Charles Amirkhanian from the OM Archives.

Searching is easy: Basic searches on any keyword can be filtered by various categories including object type (audio, video, print materials), person, or place and there is also an advanced search form to help target results. All users have access to the same tools for searching, sharing links, and downloading PDF summaries of content (where available).

Registering as a user grants free access to a personal “lightbox,” where you can save your finds and build your own collections for study or sharing discoveries with other registered users.

“Exhibits” are created and curated by staff and guests, highlighting rare materials or special interests in timely rotations. Exhibits available at the time of the OM Archives launch include Sound Poetry, Radio Art, and the American Experimental Tradition.


Anthony Braxton and Charles Amirkhanian at the McBean Theater on December 5, 1985 for the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Speaking of Music series. Photo by Esther Kutnick (The Exploratorium) from the OM Archives.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact
Adrienne Cardwell, archives@otherminds.org

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