Eve Essex and David Gutkin

Eve Essex and David Gutkin Experiments in Notation

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Free

The workshop will explore varying definitions and uses of notation in time-based art. The Performa Classroom will host session one of this multiple-part series, organized through The Public School New York. This session will focus on Robert Ashley, contemporary American composer of “mixed-media operas,” and the ONCE group (1964-1969). The class format will be divided into two sections: First, a lecture and discussion based on a selection of writings, recordings, and scores (distributed prior to the class); second, a read-through of Ashley's piece She Was a Visitor (1967), which will be a catalyst for participants' own experiments in notation. No performance experience or musical training is necessary to participate.

Each session will be divided into two sections:
First, a discussion based on a selection of writings, recordings and scores (see notes/comments for reccomended reading).  Source materials will include essays and commentary by artists and composers, scholarly articles, performance documentation, and original scores and performance instructions.
The second half will be run as a performance workshop: The class will read through and interpret some of the scores addressed in the first part of the class. This will include the playing of musical instruments, singing, dance, and various other methods of performance.  No performance experience or musical training is necessary to participate.

Potential themes for later sessions include:

- Game pieces
- From moving scores to new media
- Aspects of interpretation: ambiguous notations, impossible notations, and the unspoken “rules” of performance practice
- Notation as Politics: from Charlemagne to May ‘68

Artists/movements discussed to include: David Tudor, John Cage, Robert Ashley and the ONCE Group, Alison Knowles, Vienna  Actionists, Fluxus, Cornelius Cardew, Robert Filliou, Earle Brown, Wadada Leo Smith, Meredith Monk, Iannis Xenakis, Sylvano Bussotti, Anthony Braxton, and Henry Flynt among others.

The course will be led by David Gutkin, a Ph.D. candidate in musicology specializing in 20th-century music, and Eve Essex, an artist and musician.

Session One:
The first session will focus on Robert Ashley, contemporary American composer of “mixed-media operas,” and his work with the ONCE group (1964-1969). The class format will be divided into two sections: First, a historical and thematic introduction to uses of musical notation, and an introduction to Ashley's work; second, a read-through of Ashley's piece "She Was a Visitor" (1967), which will be a catalyst for participants' own experiments in notation.

 

Eve Essex is an artist and musician based in Brooklyn. Much of her work deals with concepts of notation; one ongoing project is an historical re-enactment of Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Orchestra. She is currently producing a Spanish-language revival of Robert Ashley's television-opera Perfect Lives: Vidas Perfectas (to premiere at Irondale Theater, Brooklyn, in December).

David Gutkin is currently a PhD student in historical musicology at Columbia University. He has written on philosophy of graphic notation in the mid-twentieth century, music and politics, and ludic theory. His dissertation is a study of American experimental operas from the 1970s-1990s. He has published in Perspectives of New Music (forthcoming), If A then B: Notes on Translation, and Current Musicology.

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