Charles Amirkhanian Collection ➔ Composer-to-Composer Festival: Day 4, Morning Session (August 19, 1988), 1 of 2

Analog Audio

Event Type
Lectures and Panel Discussions
C Amirkhanian
Program Series
Composer-to-Composer Festival
Program Length
152 min
1 of 2
| broadcast
| 1988-08-18 | created
A recording of the morning general discussion on August 19, 1988, during the 1988 Composer to Composer festival in Telluride, Colorado.

The recording begins with Charles Amirkhanian taking a consensus about topics of discussion. Some of the composers make suggestions before John Lifton leads the group into a continuation of the previous day’s topic about political connections to one’s music.

Virko Baley gives an example of a concert as political act, and how sharing one’s intention about their music is necessary to give proper context and how there seems to be a reluctance to do this among some 20th century composers. Lepo Sumera adds how one of his pieces was unintentionally political, but recognized in Estonia as a very political work and why. Denys Bouliane talks about music as metaphor, and how it runs parallel to society and politics.

Laurie Spiegel then goes into the various levels of music; physical, symbolic, and how musical form is an expression of the current times. Lou Harrison addresses emotional content, and Vincent Plush laments on the fundamental goal of simply writing a good piece of music. Denys Bouliane adds how the musical structure of one’s work will always be interpreted in a cultural context.

Paul DeMarinis talks about the “voices” coming from media around us, it’s authority and effect in his own work as well as in the commercial world. Lepo Sumera brings back the topic of the Estonian myth as allegory to politics, to which DeMarinis explains the lack of allegory in American media, which relates more to myth in the form of a “dream time” which our culture eventually acts out.

The composers go on to talk about artists who were sued for physical assault due to volume levels at concert performances, and the increasing use of ear protection.

Pamela Zoline offers a topic to the group on the obligation of artists to engage in world music, particularly in the form of a call-to-action. This opens a varied discussion among the composers before Terry Riley is called upon to talk about the lack of these types of discussions with musicians of other cultures.

There is a small gap in the recording before the conversation about intellectualizing music continues. The conversation moves on to student-teacher relationships and the individual and cultural interpretation of our musical languages. The group also discusses musical conventions and its place in creating new music.

Then the group touches on the nature of a commodity driven culture and geographical influence, and how these affect an artist’s communication of their work as well as how to differentiate the comodification of one’s own work from another’s. The subject of collaborative composition comes up leading to questions about Laurie Spiegel’s work on her Music Mouse software. This then brings up the subject of unifying factors in music and universal factors of human perception.

The recording ends abruptly while Lepo Sumera talks about the importance of the organization of patterns in composition.
20th century classical
Composers -- 20th century
Music -- Political aspects
Composition (Music)
Digitized with support from the National Recording Preservation Foundation, The Copland Fund, and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.