Retrospective by OM Executive & Artistic Director, Charles Amirkhanian
Henry Kaiser (born Oakland, California, 1952) is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, and experimental music. As one of the “first generation” of American free improvisers, he has helped unfetter the guitar from the conventions of genre-bound techniques. A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, he not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Europe and Japan, with several regular groupings as well as solo guitar concerts and concerts of freely improvised music with a host of diverse instrumentalists.
Evidence of his exceptional musical breadth and versatility can be found in a partial list of the extraordinary artists with whom he has recorded and/or performed: Herbie Hancock David Lindley, Bob Weir, The Rova Sax Quartet, Elliot Sharp, John “Drumbo” French, Raymond Kane, Michael McClure, Bill Laswell, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Terry Riley, Ryuichi Sakamoto, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Sang-Won Park, Jin-Hi Kim, John Oswald, Yuji Takahashi, John Tchicai, George Lewis, Jerry Garcia, Miya Masaoka, and Cecil Taylor.
Henry Kaiser journeyed to the island of Madagascar in 1991, where he and David Lindley recorded 6 CDs for the Shanachie label, in collaboration with various Malagasy musicians. The first of these CDs to be released, A World Out Of Time, is, perhaps, the most successful of all American World Music releases of all time. Volume 2 of A World Out Of Time was nominated for a Grammy award.
Lukas Ligeti (born in Vienna, Austria) studied Composition and Jazz Drums at the Vienna Music Academy. He was resident in the San Francisco Bay Area 1994-96 as a visiting composer at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. He is presently based in New York City.
Lukas Ligeti’s compositions have been performed by ensembles such as the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble “die reihe”, Vienna Saxophone Quartet, and the Kronos Quartet. His The Chinese Wall (1992) for orchestra and Frozen State of Song (1990-93) for saxophone quartet have been recorded for release on CD later in 1996. As a drummer, he has performed in numerous bands playing jazz, rock, and improvised music.
Lukas Ligeti has received Composition Grants of the City of Vienna (1989, 1993), a Composition Prize of the City of Vienna (1990), Austrian State Grants for Composition (1991, 1996), a Prize of the Austrian Ministry for Science and Research (1993), and a Composition Fellowship of the Santa Clara County Arts Council (1995).
In 1994, on a commission by the Goethe Institute, he led a workshop and cultural exchange project together with Kurt Dahlke in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. As a result of this project, the group “Be-Ta-Foli,” featuring 13 African traditional musicians, Dahlke, and Ligeti, was formed. In October 1996, just before the third Other Minds Festival, he returned to Cote d’Ivoire, again on a commission from the Goethe Institute, to continue work with Be-Ta-Foli.
Frederic Rzewski (born Westfield, Massachusetts, 1938) studied music first with Charles Mackey of Springfield, and subsequently with Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, and Milton Babbitt at Harvard and Princeton Universities. He went to Italy in 1960, where he studied with Luigi Dallapiccola and met Severino Gazzelloni, with whom he performed in a number of concerts, thus beginning a career as a performer of new piano music. His early friendship with Christian Wolff and David Behrman, and his acquaintance with John Cage and David Tudor, strongly influenced his development in both composition and performance.
In Rome in the mid-sixties, together with Alvin Curran and Richard Teitelbaum, he formed the MEV (Musica Elettronica Viva) group, which quickly became known for its pioneering work in live electronics and improvisation. Bringing together both classical and jazz avant-gardists (like Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton), MEV developed an esthetic of music as a spontaneous collective process. The experience of MEV can be felt in Frederic Rzewski’s compositions of the late sixties and early seventies, which combine elements derived equally from the worlds of written and improvised music.
During the seventies he experimented further with forms in which style and language are treated as structural elements; the best-known work of this period is The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a 50-minute set of piano variations. A number of pieces for larger ensembles written between 1979 and 1981 show a return to experimental and graphic notation, while much of the work of the eighties explores new ways of using twelve-tone technique. A freer, more spontaneous approach to writing can be found in more recent work. His largest-scale work to date is The Triumph of Death (1987-8), a two-hour oratorio based on texts adapted from Peter Weiss’ 1965 playDie Ermittlung (The Investigation). Since 1983, he has been Professor of Composition at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Liege, Belgium.
If the music David Raksin composed for the 1944 film Laura were his only work, he would be remembered for this uniquely atmospheric and evocative score. In addition to Laura, David Raksin is the composer of over 100 film scores, including Forever Amber, Force Of Evil, Carrie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Bad And The Beautiful, Two Weeks In Another Town, and The Redeemer, and has composed for over 300 television shows.
David Raksin began his musical studies as a pianist and was later instructed in woodwinds by his father, an orchestral musician and silent-film conductor. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, he went to New York, where he worked as a singer, musician, and arranger. Through Oscar Levant, his arrangement — particularly one of I Got Rhythm — were brought to the attention of George Gershwin, who recommended him to the Harms/Chappell organization. He first went to Hollywood at the invitation of Charlie Chaplin, to assist Chaplin with the music for Modern Times. Among his many arranging credits is the original instrumentation of Igor Stravinsky’s Circus Polka, arranged by Mr. Raksin at the composer’s invitation, for the dancing elephants (choreographed by George Balanchine) of the Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey Circus.
For radio David Raksin wrote, narrated, and conducted interviews for the three-year series, The Subject is Film Music, consisting of 64 hour-long programs. The Library of Congress, which now houses the master tapes of this series, has called the work “the finest oral history of the profession” of film composing. In the 1980s he received a commission from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of the Library of Congress, and his Oedipus Memneitai (Oedipus Remembers), for bass/baritone narrator/soloist, mixed chorus, and chamber ensemble, was conducted by him at Coolidge Auditorium on October 30, 1986.
Called “America’s multi-mediatrix” by Wired magazine and a “modern renaissance artist and agent provocateur” by Philadelphia Daily News, Laurie Anderson (born 1947 in Chicago, Illinois) is—in her work as a performance artist as well as musician, poet, writer, and visual artist—one of the most important artists of the later 20th century.
Laurie Anderson graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in Art History from Barnard College in 1969. In 1972 she received an M.F.A. in sculpture from Columbia University. During the mid 1970s she toured extensively, presenting her work in alternative performance spaces throughout the United States and building a dedicated following. During 1983 she performed her United States in the United States and Europe, and in 1986 released the film Home of the Brave. In 1987 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Philadelphia College of the Arts, and in 1996 received honorary degrees from Cal Arts and the Pratt Institute. In 1994 Harper Perennial published Ms. Anderson’s Stories from The Nerve Bible, and the early 1990s saw her present The Nerve Bible in performance throughout the United States and Europe.
George Lewis (born Chicago, Illinois, 1952) is active as a composer, performer, and computer/installation artist. A 20-year member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, he studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music and trombone with Dean Hey. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Yale College.
A recipient of several awards from the National Endowment for the Arts in both music and inter-arts categories, George Lewis has presented his interdisciplinary compositions across Eastern and Western Europe, North America, and Japan. His computer compositions have been premiered at the Banff Centre (Canada), IRCAM (Paris), and the Studio voor Elektro-Instrumentale Muziek (Amsterdam). His intermedia installations have been shown at the Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago, and the Musee de la Villette in Paris, and his “interactive music videos,” combining the mediums of voice, video, and computer music, have been presented at the Arte Elettronica Festival in Camerina (Italy) and the Kitchen (New York).
George Lewis’ work as a trombonist is documented on over eighty record albums on which he is featured as composer, improviser, or interpreter. He has taught at Simon Fraser University and the Art Institute of Chicago, and was for two years curator of the Music program at the Kitchen Center in New York City. He is a Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego.
Marian Zazeela is one of the first contemporary artists to use light as a medium of expression. In over three decades of work, she has exhibited a unique iconographic vision in a variety of media encompassing painting, calligraphic drawing, graphics, film, light projection, sculpture, and environment.
Expanding the traditional concepts of painting and sculpture while incorporating elements of both disciplines, Marian Zazeela has developed a unique visual language in the medium of light by combining colored light mixtures with sculptural forms to create seemingly three-dimensional colored shadows in radiant vibrational fields.
As artistic director of The Theatre of Eternal Music she creates the works that form the visual components of Dream House, a sound and light environment in which she collaborates with composer La Monte Young. Under a long-term commission from the Dia Art Foundation (1979-85), Marian Zazeela and La Monte Young collaborated on a 6-year continuous Dream House presentation in the former New York Mercantile Exchange, New York City. Her recent long-term installation, Imagic Light, forms a part of Dream House: Seven Years of Sound and Light, which opened at MELA Foundation, New York, in 1993 and will be on view through the year 2000.
In 1970, along with Terry Riley and La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela began her studies with the north Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath. They became his disciples, a relationship that continued until Pran Nath’s death in June 1996.
La Monte Young (born Bern, Idaho, 1935) has pioneered the concept of extended time durations in contemporary music for over 35 years. As well, his work has played a central role in the development of the use of Just Intonation in 20th-century music and the growth of the Minimalist style. Early involved in jazz, during the 1950s La Monte Young was a performer in Los Angeles of jazz saxophone, playing with Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, and Don Cherry, among others. After graduate composition studies at the University of California at Berkeley, he moved to New York City, where he directed the first loft concert series in that city. He has lived in New York ever since.
With the founding in 1962 of The Theatre of Eternal Music, Mr. Young began work on his ongoing ensemble work The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys (1964-present). Over the years, members of The Theatre of Eternal Music have included Terry Riley, John Cale, Jon Gibson, Jon Hassell, and Marian Zazeela. His other major ongoing work has been his The Well-Tuned Piano (1964-73-81-present), for a special, Justly tuned Bösendorfer Imperial piano. By 1987, his performances of this work had expanded to a duration of almost six and a half hours.
Since the early 1960s, La Monte Young has collaborated with visual artist Marian Zazeela. Together, they have designed numerous “sound and light” environments, utilizing electronically generated sustained tones in a specially lighted environment. In addition, Mr. Young’s concert works are usually presented with lighting designs by Ms. Zazeela.
In 1970, along with Terry Riley and Marian Zazeela, La Monte Young began his studies with the north Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath. They became his disciples, a relationship that continued until Pran Nath’s death in June 1996.
Miya Masaoka (born Washington, DC, 1958) works simultaneously in the varied musical worlds of jazz, Western classical music, electronic music, traditional Japanese music, and free improvisation, and is currently the director of an ensemble of traditional Japanese court music, the San Francisco Gagaku Society. She has studied Japanese music with court musician Suenobu Togi, and holds music degrees from San Francisco State University and Mills College, where she received a Masters degree in composition, having studied with Alvin Curran.
Her debut recording for solo koto,Compositions/Improvisations, has received critical acclaim in Europe and the United States. She has performed solo and with a wide variety of musicians and traditions, including Pharoah Sanders, L. Subramaniam and the Global Symphony, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Steve Coleman, Tetsuhiro Daiku, Francis Wong, Mark Izu, George Lewis, and others.
Her investigations of improvisational and compositional forms encapsulate both the inward solo kotoworks, and have led her to forming her own orchestra, the Masaoka Orchestra. She and the orchestra have been commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission and Zellerbach to perform a site-specific piece,What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin? on Market Street in 1997, in collaboration with two dancers. This piece will illuminate the commodification of eroticism/the body and music in our society.
Charles Shere (born Berkeley, California, 1935) grew up in the Bay Area. He studied composition with Luciano Berio at Mills College and with Robert Erickson privately and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He was Music Director at KPFA-fm, Berkeley, 1964-67, Lecturer at Mills College, Oakland, 1973-84, and art and music critic at the Oakland Tribune, 1972-88. He was the founding editor and publisher of the legendary new-music periodicalEar, and is the author of several books on music and on contemporary American composers.
Charles Shere’s music includes works for a wide variety of media, including opera, orchestral and chamber works, vocal music, and incidental music for theater. He has worked extensively with texts by Gertrude Stein, including operas to Ladies Voices (1987), I Like It to Be a Play (1989), and What Happened A Play (in progress), several sets of songs to poems from Tender Buttons, and the in-progress Composition as Retrospect, for speaking voice and piano. His The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1964-86) is a full-length opera in three acts to texts by Marcel Duchamp; Duchamp texts also figure into his The Box of 1914 (1980) — premiered by John Adams and the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble.
Kui Dong was born in Beijing, China and received B.A. and M.A. degrees in theory and composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In 1991 she moved to California, where she obtained a doctoral degree in composition from Stanford University.
Kui Dong’s compositions span diverse genres and styles and include ballet, orchestral and chamber works, chorus, electro-acoustic music, film scores, and multi-media art. Among most recent honors and awards she has received was the 2001 ISCM composition prize, 2000-2001 Kossevtisky Foundation/Library Congress.
Dong’s music has been performed by the Symphony Orchestra of the Central Ballet of China, Windsor Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of the Musical Theatre-studio, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, Composer’s Inc., Alea III, Music from China and the Beijing Dance Institute, Earplay New Music Ensemble, Dale Warland Singers, San Francisco Chamber Singers and among others, and has been presented in music festivals in France, Finland, China, Argentina, and the US.
Since 1997, Dong has been Assistant Professor of Music at Dartmouth College and has been playing free improvisation with Christian Wolff and Larry Polansky. Her composition and computer music teachers include Liu Zhuang, Wu Zuqiang, Du Mingxin, Chris Chafe, John Chowning, and Leland Smith.
Born St. Louis, Missouri, in 1937, Olly Wilson’s early musical training was in jazz piano and classical double bass, as well as composition with Robert Wykes, Robert Kelley, and Phillip Bezanson. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1964. He taught at Oberlin Conservatory of Music from 1965-70. During 1971-72 he lived in West Africa, studying West African music, and has published many scholarly articles on African and African American musics. He is the Jerry and Evelyn Hemmings Chambers Professor of Music at University of California at Berkeley, where he is also Chairman of the Music Department.
Olly Wilson’s compositions include works for chamber ensembles and electronic media, but he is primarily known and celebrated as a composer of orchestral music. His works have been performed by most major orchestras of the United States, as well as several European orchestras. Commissions include those from the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Koussevitzky Foundation, Lila Wallace-Readers Digest, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1995 Olly Wilson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Ionel Petroï (born in Usdin, Yugoslavia, to Romanian parents, 1958) attended the Belgrade Conservatory of Music, and received his Ph.D. and first prize in composition, conducting, piano, and double bass. He also attended the Paris Conservatory of Music and was awarded a diploma and first prize in composition. He is now a French citizen and lives in Paris.
Ionel Petroï’s works include over forty compositions for orchestra, chamber ensembles, instrumental ensembles with electronics, computer music, ballet, and opera. His works have been performed and received radio broadcasts throughout Europe. He is presently at work on an opera to a text by Eugène Ionesco, scheduled for presentation on French television. Performances include those by the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of l’Ile de France, the Erwartung Ensemble, the Trio of Ensemble Modern, and Die Reihen of Vienna.
Center for the Arts Theater, San Francisco
Thursday, November 21, 1996, 8:00 p.m.
Groove Magic (1995)
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players:
Laurel Zucker, flute; Jay Rizzetto, trumpet; Hall Goff, trombone; Roy Malan, violin; Paul Ehrlich, viola; Jennifer Culp, cello; Paul Binkley, electric bass; Thomas Schultz, piano/keyboard; John McGinn, piano/keyboard; Daniel Kennedy, percussion; Tyler Mack, percussion
Norbert Math, engineer
Mary Chun, rehearsal conductor
Les mélodies de Sancho Pança (1990)
Arlekin String Quartet:
Eugene Chukhlov, violin
Dmitri Glovko, violin
Rem Djemilev, viola
Sergei Riabtchenko, cello
Jim Bergman, double bass & Roderick Gomez, baritone
Flying Apples (1994)
San Francisco concert premiere
(Four-channel computer tape)
Solo performance of a new work in progress (1996)
Friday, November 22, 1996, 8:00 p.m.
Ethnic Cleansing (1996)
Ionel Petroï, synthesizer
Three Sounds of Tea (1996)
Miya Masaoka, koto
24,000 Years is Forever (1995)
Masaoka Orchestra, with tape:
Anthony Brown, drums/percussion; India Cooke, violin; Thomas Day, tape; Vijay Iyer, violin; Mark Izu, bass & sheng; Liu Qi-Chao, sona & erhu; Jeffrey Lucas, cello; Hafez Modirzadeh, saxophone; Toyoji Tomita, trombone; Francis Wong, saxophone
Miya Masaoka, conductor
The Road, Parts I (“Turns”) and II (“Tracks”) (1996)
Frederic Rzewski, piano
Saturday, November 23, 1996, 8:00 p.m.
Trombone solo (1996)
George Lewis, trombone
Lukas Ligeti, Electronic Percussion
Henry Kaiser and Kazunobu Yanagi:
mu mu (1996)
Henry Kaiser (guitar) and Kazunobu Yanagi (brush painting)
Henry Kaiser, Lukas Ligeti, and Greg Goodman:
Heavy Meta (1996)
Henry Kaiser, bass guitar; Lukas Ligeti, percussion; and Greg Goodman, piano
David Raksin discusses music from Laura and Forever Amber
Complete with film selections
University of California, Berkeley
Sunday, November 24, 1996, 3:00 p.m.
The Blue Melody (1993)
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players:
Laurel Zucker, flute; Peter Josheff, clarinet; Roy Malan, violin; Stephen Harrison, cello; Karen Rosenak, piano
Olly Wilson, conductor
Trio for Violin, Piano and Percussion (1996)
Written for the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio
The Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio:
David Abel, violin
Julie Steinberg, piano
William Winant, percussion
Endless Shout (1994)
Sarah Cahill, piano
Two Waltzes (1986, revised 1990)
West coast premiere
Ionel Petroï, piano
Olly Wilson: No More (1985)
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players:
Laurel Zucker, flute; Julie Steinberg, piano; Peter Josheff, clarinets; Sarah Voynow, harp; Roy Malan, violin; William Winant, percussion; Stephen Harrison, cello; Daniel Kennedy, percussion
William Brown, Tenor
Olly Wilson, Conductor
University of California, Berkeley
Sunday, November 24, 1996, 8:00 p.m.
La Monte Young:
Chronos Kristalla (Time Crystals)
from The Magic Chord x 4 (1990)
West coast premiere
Written for the Kronos Quartet
The Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello
Light Environment by Marian Zazeela