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Sound Portraits Radio #15 Robert Ashley w/ Doron Sadja

22 January 2019

A distinguished figure in American contemporary music, Robert Ashley holds an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects. In the mid 1960s Ashley founded the Sonic Arts Union with Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, and David Behrman, and later directed the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music. His recorded works are acknowledged classics of language in a musical setting, and he is best known for his epic opera-for-television, Perfect Lives, which is centered around Ashley’s hypnotic voice. Distinctly original in style, and distinctly American in their subject matter and in their use of American language, Robert Ashley’s operas are “so vast in their vision that they are comparable only to Wagner’s Ring cycle or Stockhausen’s seven-evening Licht cycle. In form and content, in musical, vocal, literary and media technique, they are, however, comparable to nothing else.” (The Los Angeles Times)

“If James Joyce were alive today, he would probably be trying to write operas like Robert Ashley.” —The Wire

“When the 21st century glances back to see where the future of opera came from, Ashley, like Monteverdi before him, is going to look like a radical new beginning.” — Kyle Gann, The Village Voice

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