Other Minds Special Programs ➔ Other Minds Presents: Henry Cowell: The Whole World of Music, Concert Two, 17 of 19

Digital Audio

Event Type
Other Minds
Program Series
Other Minds Presents
Program Length
157 min
17 of 19
| broadcast
| 2009-11-13 | created
On November 13, 2009, at the Presidio Chapel in San Francisco, CA, Other Minds presented the second of two concerts dedicated to the music of Henry Cowell. Born in Menlo Park in 1897, Cowell began his musical career as a concert pianist, and is perhaps best known for pioneering such “ultramodern” performance techniques as “tone clusters,” in which the arms are used to play a number of notes simultaneously, and the direct manipulation of the strings of the piano, in a manner that presaged John Cage’s works for prepared piano. Yet Cowell’s greatest contribution to avant-garde music came with his publication of the journal “New Music Quarterly” and its associated recordings. First issued in 1927, and edited by Cowell until 1936 this journal was where many works, by what are now recognized as the greatest 20th century American composers, were first published. Cowell also influenced a whole generation of American composers through his teaching at the New School for Social Research, where his course on “Music of the World’s Peoples” exposed many young composers to Asian and other non-Western music for the first time. In 1936 Cowell’s life took an unexpected and tragic turn when he was convicted on moral’s charges involving consensual oral sex with another man, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However through the tireless efforts of his wife Sidney, Cowell was released in 1942, and he eventually resumed teaching and composing until finally passing away in 1965, after a number of years of poor health. This evening’s event began with a panel discussion, moderated by Charles Amirkhanian, and featuring John Duffy, a composer and former student of Cowell’s, Anahid Ajemian, a violinist and friend of Cowell’s, George Avakian a record producer and husband of Ajemian, Joel Sachs, a musicologist and Cowell biographer, and Sarah Cahill, a pianist famous for her repertoire of new music. This discussion is followed by a concert that included solo piano music, a set of art songs, two string quartets performed by the Colorado Quartet, and chamber music featuring a rare performance by the world renowned violinist David Abel.
New music
20th century classical
Musical Selections
Sonata: Hymn ; In Fuguing Style ; Ballad ; Jig ; Finale, for violin and piano (1945) (18:44)
David Abel, violin
Julie Steinberg, piano
New music
20th century classical
Chamber music
Sonatas (Violin and piano)