Open Space Festival of New Music 2013
March 28-29, 2013
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
The Open Space Festival of New Music is now in its 5th year. This event is structured to present innovative composers and interpreters of contemporary music annually at the University of Northern Colorado. Composers and performers are featured guests in lectures, seminars, and performances. Each festival gives students the opportunity to perform with guest artists. The mission of the Open Space Festival is to present diverse programs annually – programs that appeal to a wide demographic population.
This year's Open Space, March 28-29, will feature internationally renowned composer Alvin Lucier.
With support from the College of Performing and Visual Arts, the School of Music, music director David Caffey, and the UNC Schulze Endowment Speaker Series.
Lucier was born in Nashua, New Hampshire. He was educated in Nashua public and parochial schools and the Portsmouth Abbey School, Yale University and Brandeis University. In 1958 and 1959, Lucier studied with Lukas Foss and Aaron Copland at the Tanglewood Center. In 1960, Lucier left for Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship, where he befriended American expatriate composer Frederic Rzewski and witnessed performances by John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and David Tudor that provided compelling alternatives to his classical training. He returned from Rome in 1962 to take up a position at Brandeis as director of the University Chamber Chorus, which presented classical vocal works alongside modern compositions and new commissions.At a 1963 Chamber Chorus concert at New York's Town Hall, Lucier met Gordon Mumma and Robert Ashley, experimental composers who were also directors of the ONCE Festival, an annual multi-media event in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1970, Lucier left Brandeis for Wesleyan University. In 1972, Lucier became a musical director of the Viola Farber Dance Company, a position he held until 1979.
Though Lucier had composed chamber and orchestral works since 1952, the composer and his critics count his 1965 composition Music for Solo Performer as the proper beginning of his compositional career. In that piece, EEG electrodes attached to the performer's scalp detect bursts of alpha waves generated when the performer achieves a meditative, non-visual brain state. These alpha waves are amplified and the resulting electrical signal is used to vibrate percussion instruments distributed around the performance space. Other important early pieces include Vespers (1968), in which performers use hand-held echolocation devices to locate the approximate physical center of a room, to deepen their understanding of acoustical perception, and to reveal the elements of environmental space through non-visual means.
One of Lucier's most important and best-known works is I Am Sitting in a Room (1969), in which Lucier records himself narrating a text, and then plays the recording back into the room, re-recording it. The new recording is then played back and re-recorded, and this process is repeated. Since all rooms have a characteristic resonance (e.g., between a large hall and a small room), the effect is that certain frequencies are gradually emphasized as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself. The recited text describes this process in action. It begins, "I am sitting in a room, different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice...", and concludes with, "I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have," referring to his own stuttering. Other key pieces include "North American Time Capsule" (1966), which employed a prototype vocoder to isolate and manipulate elements of speech; Music On A Long Thin Wire (1977), in which a piano wire is strung across a room and activated by an amplified oscillator and magnets on either end, producing changing overtones and sounds; Crossings (1982), Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas (1973–74), and Clocker (1978), which uses biofeedback and reverberation.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
4:40pm Workshop by Alvin Lucier
Milne Auditorium in Kepner Hall
7:00pm Pre-concert lecture by Alvin Lucier
"Music and Sound: A Lifetime of Exploration"
7:30pm Concert of Lucier's music
Friday, March 29, 2013
11:30am-1:00pm Luncheon & Lecture with Alvin Lucier
Centennial Hall in Brown Hall
5:00pm Concert: Winners of the 2013 Open Space Festival of New Music Call for Scores and the Soundpainting Ensemble