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Radiofest: New American Music:
Whatever Happened to the Avant-Garde ?

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 30 min
Event Type: Documentary  

This is the second, mostly self-contained, half of a program produced by the American Society of University Composers in conjunction with Radiofest: New American Music, in which the state of avant-garde music in the late 1970s is explored. The program begins with a look back at a typical avant-garde performance from the heady days of the 1960s, for which an audience gathered to witness the ignition of a single jet engine. After several failed attempts to get the engine lit using a match, during which some in the audience got closer to the jet than suggested, combustion was finally achieved leading to an immediate and uncontrolled exit from the area during which fences were trampled and one person broke their leg. In contrast, the two featured composers in this program, Donald Erb, and David Cope, talk about how the avant-garde of the late 1970s is in a state of reflection and integration, rather than one focused on shock and aleatoric noise. This transition is suitably illustrated with two works by the composers in which elements of earlier avant-garde performances are merged with more traditional or musical elements.

Note: This program was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Musical Selections:  Mirage (1977) (7:02) / Donald Erb -- Threshold and Visions [excerpt] (1977) (7:02) / David Cope
Performers:  Las Vegas Chamber Players (Mirage)
Donald Erb, conductor (Mirage)
Santa Cruz Chamber Symphony (Threshold)
David Cope, conductor (Threshold)
Genres:  Avant-Garde; Chamber Music
Subject:  Erb, Donald, 1927-; Cope, David; Avant-garde (Music) ; Chamber music; Sextets (Piano, bassoon, flute, trombone, trumpet, percussion); Sextets (Harpsichord, bassoon, flute, trombone, trumpet, percussion); Sextets (Electronic organ, bassoon, flute, trombone, trumpet, percussion); Chamber orchestra music; Spatial music
People:  McLean, Priscilla, 1942-; Erb, Donald, 1927-; Cope, David
 
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