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9 Evenings artists in 1966, outside The 69th Regiment Armory, New York

Fifty years have passed since engineer Billy Klüver and an assemblage of his esteemed colleagues pioneered, with prescient brilliance, the now ubiquitous fusing of performance and new technologies. The works presented during 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering (1966) approached the idea of the “total art work” by aestheticizing both the commonplace and most advanced electronic media of the day. The ingenious use of light (designed primarily by the still-active master Jennifer Tipton), various applications of new wireless controls, and especially the employment of photocell sensors, all played major roles in works by artists such as Lucinda Childs, Steve Paxton, Robert Whitman, Robert Rauschenberg, and John Cage. With this rich line-up of prominent avant-garde artists -- working alongside Klüver and his Bell Laboratories co-workers under the auspices of Experiments in Art and Technology, or E.A.T -- 9 Evenings paved the way for artists across disciplines to manifest their vision with the technological tools that Marshall McLuhan famously characterized as extensions of ourselves.

Ed Bear and Friends perform John Cage's Variations VII

The 69th Regiment Armory was already historically infamous for exploding the public’s concept of what art could be during the 1913 Armory Show, and 9 Evenings added another profound layer of import to its vast interior expanse. While decidedly more modest in its aims, After 9 Evenings presents a focused cross-section of current art practices that foreground the use of electronic media and digital technology. Much of what you’ll see and hear is indebted to the groundbreaking developments of the 1960s, while boldly pushing forward into the technologically-saturated present.

The week-long After 9 Evenings series begins on Sunday, September 25 with a complete immersion in the film documentation of the original events from 1966, followed by a panel discussion moderated by long-time E.A.T Director Julie Martin. On Tuesday, September 27, legendary composer Morton Subotnick (pioneer of modular synthesis, in collaboration with the recently-passed design wizard Don Buchla) premieres a new collaboration with Berlin-based video artist, Lillevan, while turntable artist Marina Rosenfeld and analog synth innovator Ben Vida reprise their collaboration first presented during Vida’s 2013 ISSUE residency. The series continues on Thursday, September 29 with the polymathic media art duo LoVid (in collaboration with dancer Sally Im and media artist Tyler Henry), premiering a new performance work entitled Interplayce, paired with a new video performance by expanded cinema artist and film scholar Andrew Lampert. Friday, September 30 features James Fei and Laetitia Sonami harnessing complex electronic behaviors with their tactile, idiosyncratic control interfaces and Thomas Dexter performing his signature “live-filmmaking” work with various apparatuses of image and sound production. On the final day of the series, Saturday, October 1, NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering hosts a day-long symposium featuring panels and artist talks that revisit 9 Evenings and the work of E.A.T while also exposing recent advances in digital technology and interactive design. Finally, performing artist and engineer Ed Bear and a stellar group of local artists conclude the series with a new realization of composer John Cage’s Variations VII (1966), a cooly ecstatic work that deploys radio, telephonic, photocell, and voltage-controlled technologies (among others) to create a maelstrom of sound derived exclusively from real-time sources. This is the first time the piece has been performed in the United States since being unleashed at the Armory five decades ago.

James Fei & Laetitia Sonami

The curators would like to offer our sincerest thanks and gratitude to Nokia Bell Labs, Julie Martin, the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, R. Luke DuBois, Ilya Fridman of Fridman Gallery, ISSUE Project Room’s Board and Staff, and to all of the artists, engineers, and academics who have offered their collective and extraordinary talents to realize After 9 Evenings.

Chris McIntyre and Lauren Rosati
ISSUE Project Room, Guest Curators  

Is anyone writing a book or dissertation on the NY music scene in the 90's and early to mid 00's? I need someone else to help me understand how we got to now.
Yesterday (2/23/2012)

Matt Marble likes this.

Charlie Waters For one, people become blog composers vs. really writing music, and that took up so much head space, that people forget about "real" and gave credence to tech savvy.. Just sayin'
Yesterday at 10:13am · Like · 1

Dan Joseph Where exactly do you think we are now Chris?
Yesterday at 10:44am · Like · 1

Christopher McIntyre the oblique answer: not then
Yesterday at 11:06am · Like

Christopher McIntyre the deeply oblique answer: dissimulated
Yesterday at 11:07am · Like

Jim Pugliese I believe that all matter changed after 9/11 so there is no line...
Yesterday at 11:09am · Like · 1

Ted Reichman not to be snide (and I mostly am just commenting so I can follow this conversation) but I remember a roughly equal amount of complaining about the NYC scene in that time period as now...
Yesterday at 11:10am · Unlike · 2

Christopher McIntyre ‎"where exactly"? in a FB comment thread? not possible. the one thing i will say plainly is that, in the light of today's milieu, the reasons behind the aesthetic battles of the past that were so ostensibly necessary at the time have been at least subsumed if not nearly obscured.
Yesterday at 11:11am · Like

Christopher McIntyre and Ted, you are correct! i think it was true then, but now those complainers are 10-15 years older and a whole new cohort has simply moved on. and like it or not, that's a perfectly reasonable development.
Yesterday at 11:13am · Like

Christopher McIntyre Post-9/11. interesting Jim. Really has the potential to be seen as omni-paradigm altering as "Post-War" art.
Yesterday at 11:15am · Like

Jim Pugliese but isn't that the usual pattern? Thinking back I believe I have been through at least 4 cycles of this pattern in my short life time!
Yesterday at 11:16am · Like

Ted Reichman yeah. what I'd really like to see is a demographic analysis of the change in audience for so-called new music from the 80's to now. I actually have a lot to say about this... And a change in the performers' mentality in mid-90's when rock stars started emerging from KF scene (Soul Coughing, Cibo Matto, MMW, J Buckley...)...
Yesterday at 11:19am · Unlike · 2

Christopher McIntyre there is a pattern, Jim, but this time it's feeling to me like we've officially reached Disneyland proportions, Baudrillard's circumvolution simulacra.
Yesterday at 11:22am · Like

Christopher McIntyre and yes Charlie, I need to go write some music now!
Yesterday at 11:22am · Like

Charlie Waters What would be an example of Disneyifaction of New Music?
Yesterday at 11:28am · Like

Charlie Waters ‎9/11 is a good demarcation...a splinter date...
Yesterday at 11:29am · Like

Charlie Waters But one side of me feels, looking and listening to whole new music spectrum- this is a golden era, one unimaginable to me as a redneck composition student in late '80's...
Yesterday at 11:31am · Like

Jim Pugliese I tend to agree Chris but that is just a product of access to massive media so, this younger generation has to fish through tons of genre which means that even with consistent work it will take much longer for them to reach what we call a master of their craft!
Yesterday at 11:31am · Like

David T. Little I think Bob Ostertag talks about this a little in his book Creative Life, though this too centers on 9/11 if I recall. John Kennedy and I were recently having a discussion about this as well. He's got some very interesting thoughts, though I don't know if he's been writing them down.
Yesterday at 11:51am · Like · 1

Dan Joseph Chris, if you are feeling nostalgic for the aesthetic battles of the past, than why don't you put forward a new aesthetic and battle for it?
Yesterday at 12:19pm · Like

Seth Cluett I have a section in the book i'm working on dealing with the work and people happening around when bunker split to generator/early knitting factory
Yesterday at 12:53pm · Unlike · 2
Christopher McIntyre not nostalgic dcomposer, only attempting to size things up.
Yesterday at 1:27pm · Like

John Kennedy Chris, we should talk when I am in NY next...dissimulated you say...I agree with Jim about the cycles of activity (I was there 84-99). But it seems to me what has really changed in the past decade is online activity, marketing as mantra, and the press waking from slumber to piggyback onto trends.
Yesterday at 1:39pm · Like

Anthony Coleman Thank God for the Noise Kids and their ridiculous little basements! Outside of that, everything is jive. I've never felt so disengaged from any and all trends. I always had issue w/ trends, but this is different. Everybody should watch The End Of New Music to see how Sarah Palin's redefining the work "Maverick" has helped to create a new context for everything.
Yesterday at 4:37pm · Like · 3

Christopher McIntyre The Palinification of New Music. ouch.
23 hours ago · Like

Dan Joseph ‎@anthony help me out here, who are the "Noise Kids" and what is a "ridiculous little basement"? As for "Maverick," it seems to me that was used up sometime in the mid 90s when the SF symphony held several maverick festivals that included composers from virtually every camp imaginable, rendering the concept completely moot. Such was my conclusion at the time anyhow....and that is quite the sweeping gesture, your dismissal of everything but the Noise Kids, whoever that is.....
5 hours ago · Like

Anthony Coleman Dismissal is not really it...it's just that I don't feel a connection, except in the ridiculous little basements, which remind me of those awful/wonderful places where I used to do most of my performances - until the late '80s, when the Knit started. We'd usually end up playing The Kitchen, like, once a year or something (either with my own stuff or as a sideman). But most of the language(s) I got involved with really solidified in the basements
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Anthony Coleman LPR is a perfect example of a certain alienation that I feel. Maybe its just me, maybe it's part of the Zeitgeist, maybe others feel it too. The Knit and Tonic were VERY far from perfect, but they seemed to help create some element of public space, something communal...maybe even despite themselves. Whereas my impression is that that is only part of the hype of LPR, and in fact, right up to the minute that the performance begins, and starting right from the minute it ends, it feels like the Rock Club in a Suburban Shopping Mall. It just doesn't feel situated in the same way.
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Anthony Coleman Good news, though: there are a ton of those basements again! If one doesn't mind returning to not making any money at all, it's a great thing!
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Dan Joseph ‎...well, it would seem difficult to continue to feel connected in the way one did in one's earlier days with the passing of each new wave of noise kids, and the passing of years. That would seem normal to me, rather than an indictment of the present, that seems to me to be the tenor of this thread
5 hours ago · Like

Tanya Kalmanovitch Experiments in teaching musical "entrepreneurship" in the conservatory suggest to me that not minding not making any money is the main thing.
5 hours ago · Like

Dan Joseph But I couldn't agree more with regard to LPR - do not like it at all...
5 hours ago · Like

Jim Pugliese Ah the days of Cafe Bustella eh Anthony? I think we played three four nights a week back then in those beautiful holes and that is where the language solidified! The fact that no one (and I mean no one) makes money playing creative or what I now call "free" music" (get it!) the basement or home is the best thing there is! Even Roulette and Issue have lost that crazy passionate energy that sparks a new movement!
5 hours ago · Like · 1

Anthony Coleman But Dan, I think you missed one point: I really DO feel connected to the noise kids I'm talking about! Strange but true...If you'want, I'll go into a little more detain about that which I do not like...Fake Maverick - ism and its World of Epigones...
5 hours ago · Like

Jacob Garchik Did anyone see that Kurt Anderson article about how decade to decade, art changed radically in the 20th century, until the last ten or twenty years, and then it didn't change at all, not counting the effect of computers? In other words, you would never mistake 1960 for 1970, but you might mistake 1995 for 2005? Does this apply to music?
5 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Anthony Coleman The End of New Music is (or should be) a basic text:
5 hours ago · Like

Anthony Coleman http://documentaries.documentaryfilms.net/The-End-of-New-Music.html
5 hours ago · Like

Dan Joseph ‎@anthony feel free to go into more detail about fake Mavericks!
5 hours ago · Like

Jim Pugliese I have to go down here saying I am totally connected with the new noise kids! That is where the energy and real passion is brewing! My seniors at La Guardia are incredible! Not only are they passionate, innovative and virtuosic but they know their history right up to this moment! There is a scene brewing for sure!
5 hours ago · Like · 1

David Watson ‎@Seth ... where / how are you researching - since you weren't actually there...
@Jim...when you say 9/11... that's denoting 7.5 years of Giuliani and all those changes, right ?
@Anthony .. for sure ...but that can also be a kind of contextualization of ... just getting old(er), right ?
@all .. when I arrived here, '87, nothing could've prepared me for 50% of everything I was interested in happening in one square mile.
4 hours ago · Like · 2

Anthony Coleman David - which comment of mine are you referring to?
4 hours ago · Like

Mary Jane Leach Also, when the Berlin Wall came down, things started changing a lot. A lot of funding dried up - some due to the fact that "we won" and didn't have to spread our art around, as well as other countries becoming more insular, and the sudden demonizing of artists by the right wing in this country - its transferring the enemy from outside to within our ranks (always got to have an enemy to rail against doncha know).
4 hours ago · Like

Jeb Bishop ‎"In other words, you would never mistake 1960 for 1970, but you might mistake 1995 for 2005? Does this apply to music?" -- Jason Lanier makes an argument like this re music in You Are Not a Gadget
4 hours ago · Like

Jeb Bishop oops, Jaron
4 hours ago · Like

Jeb Bishop ‎-- though he is talking more about "pop" music forms
4 hours ago · Like

Jim Pugliese ‎@ David, I think I just meant that we all had the wind knocked out of us and, in my humble opinion, became more subdued in our approach. It was just a shift which I believe had some consequence. Simple really, didn't mean anything deep.
4 hours ago · Like

David Watson ‎@Anthony .....which comment ?..well ... little bit of everything. It is/was a great time when a bunch of people are actually affecting each other. For sure.
But there's inevitably some nostalgia in there, affecting the way one puts it together.
4 hours ago · Like

Mary Jane Leach Oh, and to answer you literally, Bernie Gendron and Ryan Doheney are both writing about the downtown scene, although not specifically the 90s and on.
4 hours ago · Like

David Watson ‎@ Jim ....definitely .. I was just wanting to put that in a context. Boho NY that a young person could move to had already been hammered. These things went together.
Who is writing the book on the Noise Action Coalition ...job for you, JIm ?
4 hours ago · Like · 1

Jim Pugliese I just realized that the day I was supposed to start teaching composition @ La Guardia HS was 9/11/2001. I never made it to the school but in looking back I now realized a slow but consistent development in the work and emotion of the students. It's only in the last two years that I feel an incredible passion and camaraderie among the students. It was gradual and as David said they are truly affecting each other.
4 hours ago · Like

Jim Pugliese Ha, David I think I will leave that one to Ribot....I would certainly contribute though.
4 hours ago · Like

Ted Reichman not sure I can follow the thread of this conversation anymore, but I think that "scenes" are hard to define and have limited lifespans. look at art taylor's notes and tones and read the bop and post-bop jazz players ranting about how their scene is dying- in the early 70's. and they were right! most of them had been working for less than 20 years at that point- some were still in their 30's. (look at the arc of tony williams's career for example). what we think of as rock "scenes" probably last less than five years- in fact, does anyone think of rock "scenes" even existing anymore? If we date the downtown NYC scene back to late 70's, I think we should count ourselves lucky that it lasted as long as it did- and if it lives on in distorted form preserved on the one hand by non-profits and the corporations, foundations and wealthy individuals who support them, and on the other hand by the no-money noise basements then that's how it lives on.
4 hours ago · Like · 1

Michaël Attias I don't think less money is the answer --what is less than zero? and it's not about nostalgia or choosing allegiance with any particularly vital splinter of what is being made now - I believe there is an enormous amount of vital music coming from every direction. But no venue has come to consistently fill the gap KF and Tonic left with their passing, in terms of musics - generations, scenes - actually mixing, pollinating, attacking, challenging and contaminating each other in the same physical space often in the same night, not online or in someone's ipod. and there's no shortcut to that -- on one side we have endless splintering of basement spaces that have no subterranean tunneling to connect them - on the other, somewhat monied and self-aggrandizing spaces that allow publicists and bloggers to determine and define the currents rather than the actual praxis of musicians and audiences making and hearing music this very moment --
4 hours ago · Like · 2

David Watson MIchael - please write the book.
4 hours ago · Like · 1

Ted Reichman michael you're definitely right. and like david said- when so much was centralized in lower mahattan, it was a very different thing...
4 hours ago · Like · 1

Jim Pugliese Michael and Ted, I think you have summed up everything that everyone said in this thread! Bravi.....Now we can all write at least two books together in camaraderie!
3 hours ago · Like

Christopher McIntyre many thoughts swirling about here. of course michaël is perfectly correct. at least, from the perspective of the exact cohort reading this thread. i think there is definitely an aging thing going on (for me in any case), but i wouldn't agree that there's a lack of objectivity because of it. in any case, 2 things have been established herein: michaël needs to right "the book", and, improbable as this seemed a few months prior to its closing, Tonic is in fact missed. by some. basta.
9 minutes ago · Like

Jacob Garchik It's the Goldilocks effect. A club has to be just right: not too big, not too small, in downtown Manhattan, with a bar, not too expensive, with an open-minded booking policy.
Friday at 7:12pm · Like · 1

John Cage's Solo for Sliding Trombone from Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1958) makes sonic requests of the performer that are both very specific and also highly subjective, even intentionally vague. This dichotomy is most evident in pitches that are written below the (un-clefed) staff throughout the piece. Here are a few examples:

In the instructions, Cage writes of this pitch class:

"Notes below a staff and attached to it by a stem are any extremely high sounds (above E flat), overtone rips, or interval sounds; auxiliary conch shell; the use of the mouthpiece with or without bell apart from rest of instrument; barking, speaking or shouting into instrument. These are verbally indicated but may be exchanged for other noise elements chosen by the player." [my emphasis]

Recently, I've been performing Concert with the revival of the Merce Cunningham's dance work Antic Meet with the Cunningham Dance Co. Playing a work like this in a theatrical run format vs. the typical one-off music concert has afforded some time for lateral thinking. I recently embraced the challenge of exchanging alternative noise elements for Cage's more circumscribe suggestions during our run at Bard College. I simply walked the backstage area minutes before downbeat listening for a signature sound, recorded the mechanism seen and heard below with my rudimentary iPhone "Voice Memo" app, and proceeded to play it back into the PA via the iPhone speaker. It was great fun, and I plan to develop a set of venue-specific samples for use going forward. Starting tomorrow night (Sept 16, 2011) at The Stone, and continuing at the Kennedy Center in December '11 again with MCDC.

I plan to play this piece my whole career. I look forward to experiencing what will undoubtably be a lovely scrapbook of sounds, usable in many contexts, into the future.

Fisher Center at Bard College, Annandage-on-Hudson, NY

A few years ago, I created a Google Map to chart active music venues in the 5 boroughs of New York. Creating your own G-Map was a brand new possibility at the time and very exciting for map geeks such as myself. Being a musician who flows well outside the mainstream, the majority of the venues I initially included were "underground" and tended toward experimentalism. I eventually started to include major mainstream classical and otherwise venues as the number of map views increased which now totals an amazing 5400.

I also eventually began to include defunct spots, which is now really where my interest in this project  lies. Mapping the vicissitudes of the New York indie and experimental scene tells a fascinating visual narrative. I'm redoubling my efforts to identify as many of the "alternative spaces" of the early to late SoHo scene as I can. Visualizing in this way the fact that so many spaces have come and gone may induce professional depression, but the historicist in me can't help but learn where these places were and stick a (red) pin.

Here's the map as it stands today:

View NYC Music Venues in a larger map

I'm very excited to announce the launch of Non-Site Records, a CJM-led media project whose first release is also TILT Brass' debut full-length recording entitled To TILT: Volume One, featuring TILT Creative Brass Band. In addition to presenting custom works for TILT by stalwart New York composers Anthony Coleman, Nick Didkovsky, Nate Wooley, and Curtis Hasselbring, To TILT includes the first official recording of my ensemble music. Foliation (for Suzanne) was premiered in an earlier form at Roulette in 2009. The studio recording features trenchant, impressive playing by all those involved, especially during some deceptively tricky ensemble work that is effortlessly and musically executed by this band of all-stars.

Future releases planned for Non-Site include a vinyl and download only album featuring CJM's trombone music from the Stuplimity Series, digital-only releases of live performances by various New York based projects, and Volume Two of the To TILT series featuring works for TILT SIXtet by CJM, John King, Mario Diaz de Leon, and David First.

A 4-part vocalized study of the rhythmic and pitch concept for part 2 of the preview of Smithson Project material performed by Ne(x)tworks on Nov. 18, 2010.

Music: Avant-Gardists Get a Chance to Roam

Special to The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS, June 9 - There is a benignly brooding "video portrait" of John Cage greeting people in the lobby of the Walker Art Center here. That's only appropriate, because people are gathering for a nine-day festival called New Music America that began Saturday night. This is a followup to a similar festival held last June at The Kitchen in New York, and part of what is now hoped will be an annual event in different parts of the country, all devoted to the openly experimental spirit that Mr. Cage pioneered.

There are good reasons for this second festival to be in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but the reasons are more institutional than creative. As Roy M. Close, music critic of The Minneapolis Star, points out in the festival catalogue, the Twin Cities have never been the home of a particularly strong school of experimental composers. But local institutions, above all the Walker Art Center and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, have more than made up the slack, and the result is an active audience and support system for such music. The festival is being presented by the center and The Star, and the first evening's performances were by the chamber orchestra.

Judging from the first two days and from a look at the programs to come, the Minneapolis festival differs in several ways from its Kitchen prototype. The Kitchen festival was criticized for cramming too many short, insubstantial works  onto each program. Here, the evenmgs offer three or four composers instead of six, and allow them a greater length and breadth of forces.

This is not always an advantage. Some of the composers abused that generosity on the first two nights, and the concerts ran too long for comfort. The necessary inclusion of some local composers, plus a few misjudgments about out-of-town guests, has diffused the festival's conceptual focus. Still, the overall program seems genuinely representative of the variety of "new music" styles.

Perhaps the biggest difference from the Kitchen programs is the inclusion of a wide range of special events and "installations." The latter are musical compositions that in one way or another interact with their site, which by definition is not a conventional concert hall. New Music America has some rather silly, trendy (and worse, yesteryear's trends) examples of this genre, mostly by local composers. But there is a fine piece by Liz Phillips in the plaza outside the Minnesota Orchestra's concert hall - clever, entrancing and ingenious. There is a permanent installation of a subtly lively steady-state work for 64 speakers and small synthesizers by Max Neuhaus in Minnesota's largest greenhouse. Brian Eno's gentle "Music for Airports" is chiming away in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, and Alvin Lucier has an example of his thoughtprovoking minimalism in a large indoor courtyard.

Two of the three pieces on the chamber orchestra's opening-night concert were commissions. Unfortunately, the festival opened with one of those commissions, a weak, derivative and rather giddy piece by Minnesota's Homer Lambrecht called "Owl." But then there was Steve Reich's characteristically ingenious Octet, played brightly and industriously by a hardworking band of orchestra members.

The concert ended with the other commission, a 45-minute work for piano, orchestra and electronics by Alvin Curran. Mr. Curran, an American composer who lives in Rome, has heretofore been best known for his solo appearances, and in this piece's nine minute cadenza for himself at the piano, hammering out a frenzied ostinato, wailing away American Indian style into a sound system that "treated" his voice, and supported by two French horns, he achieved a compelling impact. But his orchestral writing which blended folk songs, Western kitsch and na'ive counterpoint, sounded amateurish.

Last night's second concert had editing troubles. A mixed-media piece by Charles Amirkhanian and Carol Law failed to present Mr. Amirkhanian's clever "text-sound" manipulations at their full aural potential, and Barbara Kolb's three works not only went on far too long, but also seemed curiously out of place in their sober, East Coast-formalistic way. A local group called Zeitgeist combined Reichian ostinatos with jazzy brass improvisations inoffensively but trivially. The evening was handily salvaged, however, by Robert Ashley at the end.

Mr. Ashley was at once old and new, an honored veteran of pioneering new music groups, and the purveyor, in collaboration with Blue Gene Tyranny, Peter Gordon and others of the rock-art vanguard, of about the freshest sound heard in recent months. This was another in-progress installment of his "Perfect Lives - Private Parts" series. But instead of the wonderful floating dreaminess of previously encountered parts, the latest section partook of the tension, energy and anger of new-wave rock. Yet it hardly "ripped off" rock; this was always Mr. Ashley's piece, and it earned him the most fervent ovation of the festival so far.