Merce Cunningham Starts Free New Music Series

Classic Arts News   Merce Cunningham Starts Free New Music Series
The Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) will launch next month a new music series, Experiments in the Studio, featuring works by collaborators of Cunningham and John Cage. The effort celebrates the choreographer's commitment to commissioning new music by American composers. All concerts are free.
Composers and performers David Behrman, John King and Stephan Moore will present on opening night Behrman's Long Throw (a recent MCDC commission), King's Quadrilogic Unity, Moore's and Christian Wolff's Or 4 People.

Behrman has created sound and multimedia installations for both galleries and stages. His work often incorporates flexible structures and interactions between live performers and computers.

Along with Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma, Behrman founded in 1966 the Sonic Arts Union, which was active in North America and Europe until 1976. Between 1970 and 1976, he toured as a composer-performer with MCDC, working with John Cage; his association with the company continues sporadically today.

Behrman's Protests 1917 _2004, which uses English poet Siegfried Sassoon's Statement Against the Continuation of the War, was performed last month by violinist Martin Shultz at Tanglewood's Festival of Contemporary Music. In June, the string quartet he founded (and in which he plays the viola), Crucible, premiered his new 30-minute quartet at The Stone in New York City.

Works by composer and guitarist John King have been heard at Oregon's T.B.A. Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival and Germany's Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, among others His experimental opera, la belle captive, based on texts by Alain Robbe-Grillet, was premiered in Buenos Aires at the Centro de Experimentaci‹n del Teatro Col‹n in 2003.

Currently co-director of the MCDC's music committee, King curated the music for the company's events at the Joyce Theater and at The Barbican Centre in London.

The works of Stephan Moore, a sound artist based in Brooklyn, New York, are centered around the collection and use of real-world sound, the creation and perception of sonic environments, and technological manifestations of improvisation and interactivity. He develops his own performance software and builds hemispherical point-source loudspeakers for use in his performances and sound installation work.

Moore is currently MCDC's sound supervisor.

MCDC's Experiments in the Studio opens on September 17 at the Merce Cunningham Studio and runs until May 2008. Other composers whose work will be presented include Takehisa Kosugi (MCDC's music director), Gordon Mumma, George Lewis, Fast Forward, Zeena Parkins, Richard Teitelbaum, Miguel Frasconi and Marina Rosenfeld. Each free concert is followed by a Q&A session with the composer-performers. Visit for more information.

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