Sound Portraits Radio #35 Alvin Lucier w/ Doron Sadja
14 May 2021
ALVIN LUCIER was born in 1931 in Nashua, New Hampshire. He was educated in Nashua parochial and public schools, The Portsmouth Abbey School, Yale and Brandeis, and spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship. From 1962 to 1969 he taught at Brandeis where he conducted the Brandeis University Chamber Chorus which devoted much of its time to the performance of new music. Since 1970 he has taught at Wesleyan University where he is currently John Spencer Camp Professor of Music.
Alvin Lucier has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers’ physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. His recent works include a series of sound installations and works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which, by means of close tunings with pure tones, sound waves are caused to spin through space.
Lucier performs, lectures and exhibits his sound installations extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. He has visited Japan twice. In 1988 he appeared on the Abiko Festival in Tokyo and installed Music on a Long Thin Wire in Kyoto and in 1992 he performed in Kawasaki, Yamaguchi and Yokohama with Pianist Aki Takahashi. In 1990-91 he was a guest of the DAAD Kunstler Program in Berlin. In January 1992, he performed in Dehli, Madras, and Bombay, and during the summer of that year was guest composer at the “Time of Music Festival” in Vitaasari, Finland. His own book, Chambers, written in collaboration with Douglas Simon, was published by the Wesleyan University Press. In addition, several of his works are available on Cramps (Italy), Disques Montaigne, Elektra/Nonesuch, Source, Mainstream, CBS Odyssey, and Lovely Music Records.
In October 1994, Wesleyan University honored Lucier with a five-day festival, “Alvin Lucier: Collaborations,” for which he composed twelve new works, including Theme, based on a poem by John Ashbery and Skin, Meat, Bone, a collaborative theater work with Robert Wilson.