Major Festival of Minimalism Opens in Los Angeles

Classic Arts News   Major Festival of Minimalism Opens in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's "Minimalist Jukebox," billed at the first major examination of the Minimalism movement, opens tonight at midnight with a six-hour performance of electronic music hosted by the duo Orb.

The festival, which runs through April 2, is a collaboration with the Getty Research Institute, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Piano Spheres, CalArts, and the University of Southern California. Composer and conductor John Adams, who was first known as a Minimalist, is the director.

The Philharmonic's own concerts during the festival include programs of music by Louis Andriessen and Arvo P‹rt (March 24 and 25), and Steve Reich (March 25 and 26). Adams leads his own Harmonielehre and excerpts from Philip Glass's Akhnaten on March 31, April 1, and April 2.

Terry Riley's music, including his seminal In C, is featured in several concerts; other Minimalists, Post-Minimalists, and pre-Minimalists on the program include Paul Dresher, Gavin Bryars, Ingram Marshall, Glenn Branca, Michael Torke, Meredith Monk, Michael Gordon, and John Cage. Brian Eno's ambient Music for Airports is heard throughout the festival in the lobbies of Walt Disney Hall.

"It has escaped no one's attention that celebrating Minimalism in the context of a symphony orchestra is admittedly a problematic fit," Adams writes in his program notes. "Most of the best Minimalist music is not scored for conventional orchestra. But the Los Angeles Philharmonic, being an orchestra that is not only a hundred-piece ensemble but also an amalgam of distinct, highly talented performers, found many ways to make a successful survey of this magnitude."

He adds, "Whether it's the mesmerizing throb of Glenn Branca's electric guitar symphonies, the Gaia joy of Meredith Monk's choral works, the Nordic purity of Arvo P‹rt, the Stravinsky-meets-gamelan boogies of Andriessen's De Staat, or the industrial strength microtuning of Michael Gordon, we feel we have put together a statement that says much about a profound and irrevocable change in the history of Western music."

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