Introduction to Class #2: Exploring Place in Music

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO:The place in which you hear music is a protagonist in the experience of that music. Even spaces which are meant to be neutral places in which to listen have a role in determining the experience you have of that music. Composers throughout the 20th Century played with ideas of … [Read more...]

2. Tom Morris: How place frames music

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Take advantage of the unique place where you perform. John Luther Adams' Inuksuit works in different settings because the music and concept are so strong. Think about the White Cube effect. Ultimately it's the music that speaks - you want to create an experience so that it … [Read more...]

Listen & Do: John Cage’s 4’33”

Here are two performances of John Cage's iconic 4'33". The piece, of course, challenges the notion of what a "performance" is and who the performers are. The silence forces you to be more aware of the sound around you, your fellow audience. Coughs are part of the music. Rustling programs are part of … [Read more...]

3. John Luther Adams: A composer’s dialogue with place

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: I'm a control freak. I use mathematics, notation, many different tools to get to specific things. But music leads me into broader territory. In the process I learn to give more and more away. I embrace this dissonance. I've always wanted to embrace the sensuous and the formal. … [Read more...]

Listen & Do: John Luther Adams’ songbirdsong

It's easy for music to evoke familiar sounds we hear around us. Birds are an obvious object of mimicry. When bird sounds are written out, they cease being improvised in the way you would hear them in nature. The composer is intentional. Music most often has some kind of intentional structure, a plan … [Read more...]

4. Ara Guzelimian: How composers are influenced by place

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Music is not separate from life. We know where we are, and composers are hardly separate from that. Composers are very much influenced by place. Lou Harrison looked more to Asia rather than Europe. It was a more natural reference point for him. Earlier American composers worked … [Read more...]

5. Eva Soltes: Place is an individual construct in music

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Music expresses a place according to the person who writes it in a space. Music is so individual that people experience things based on the things going on in their lives. Mountains, desert, oceans - there's an overlay of being in places like these and what does the music … [Read more...]

6. John Luther Adams: Evoking a place is different from being of a place

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: I'm trying to evoke place. But over the years the music has gone from being about place to being of a place. You find your own way through and discover different places that I never imagined. it's more and more about the experience of being in the place. Music can be a way of … [Read more...]

Listen & Do: John Luther Adams’ Strange and Sacred Noise

If you didn't know the title of this piece, would it make a difference in how you hear it? Noise implies... what? As opposed to music? Is noise music? This piece will also be performed outdoors in a space not normally used for music at this year's festival. Whereas John Luther Adams' songbirdsong or … [Read more...]

7. Elaine Martone: How recordings interact with place

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: As a recording producer, you want to capture the best version of the performance. You don't want to leave in extraneous sounds. When you listen back you focus on those sounds. Listening in the car to a recording is interesting - it's surround sound, and people like it. It's … [Read more...]

8. Tom Morris: How music evokes space

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Music can reflect a place in many ways. Music is evocative. Space can also evoke music. Music in particular spaces can speak to you in different ways, depending on what the space is. John Adams, for example, grew up on the East Coast and his music reflected it. But he's now … [Read more...]

Listen & Do: Lou Harrison’s Suite for Symphonic Strings

Lou Harrison gave this piece a very formal, very generic title. Suite for Symphonic Strings. Can't get more generic than that. Can't get more European than that. There are certainly some very European things about this music. Dismantle this music and look at any one of the parts and you can see/hear … [Read more...]

9. Mark Morris: How music in this festival relates

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Lou Harrison was my first thought for this festival. A lot of the music in this festival relates to itself. There's a strong Western influence. Many of the composers are linked to one another. These cross-references are on purpose - a very big world in a small location in a … [Read more...]