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Nov 12, 2021 05:00 PM - 05:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211112T1700 20211112T1750 America/Chicago "This isn't anything new": Julius Eastman’s Piano 2 (1986)—Inspirations, Influences, and Interpretations

"This isn't anything new": Julius Eastman's Piano 2 (1986)-Inspirations, Influences, and InterpretationsThe late Julius Eastman (1940-1990) grew up in Ithaca where he began his music studies as a singer and pianist. He graduated from the Curtis Institute with a composition degree, studied and worked as a Creative Associate fellow at the SUNY-Buffalo CCPA as a pianist-composer-singer virtuoso, and later had a wide-ranging career based in New York City, moving between the worlds of academic (Uptown) modernism and the eclectic Downtown experimental scene, including minimalism, disco, and free jazz. His last known piano solo composition Piano 2 (1986) was composed during his near-decade of living homeless, and it is an unusual addition to his sporadic compositional oeuvre. A virtuosic modernist "sonata" in three movements, the idiosyncratic manuscript score leaves the performer with more questions than answers as to its realization, other than the through-composed pitches and rhythms. Building upon the ever-growing body of Eastman scholarship, I am interested in thinking through, hearing, and understanding Piano 2 alongside the music of other notable American modernist pianist-composers with whom Eastman either worked closely or whose music he prominently performed, often both. By discussing and performing this music, especially the specific pieces Eastman is known to have performed publicly, I hope to illuminate another facet of the erstwhile developing "Eastmanian performance practice," adding a broader understanding of his work as Modernist to the common associations of his work with Minimalism, just two of many categorical labels that could be applied to the diverse, fecund landscape of his multivalent creative activities and performative registers.

PROGRAMRobert ...

AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org
"This isn't anything new": Julius Eastman's Piano 2 (1986)-Inspirations, Influences, and Interpretations

The late Julius Eastman (1940-1990) grew up in Ithaca where he began his music studies as a singer and pianist. He graduated from the Curtis Institute with a composition degree, studied and worked as a Creative Associate fellow at the SUNY-Buffalo CCPA as a pianist-composer-singer virtuoso, and later had a wide-ranging career based in New York City, moving between the worlds of academic (Uptown) modernism and the eclectic Downtown experimental scene, including minimalism, disco, and free jazz. His last known piano solo composition Piano 2 (1986) was composed during his near-decade of living homeless, and it is an unusual addition to his sporadic compositional oeuvre. A virtuosic modernist "sonata" in three movements, the idiosyncratic manuscript score leaves the performer with more questions than answers as to its realization, other than the through-composed pitches and rhythms. Building upon the ever-growing body of Eastman scholarship, I am interested in thinking through, hearing, and understanding Piano 2 alongside the music of other notable American modernist pianist-composers with whom Eastman either worked closely or whose music he prominently performed, often both. By discussing and performing this music, especially the specific pieces Eastman is known to have performed publicly, I hope to illuminate another facet of the erstwhile developing "Eastmanian performance practice," adding a broader understanding of his work as Modernist to the common associations of his work with Minimalism, just two of many categorical labels that could be applied to the diverse, fecund landscape of his multivalent creative activities and performative registers.


PROGRAM
Robert Palmer: First Epigram (1957)
Ann Silsbee: Bagatelle (1963)
Morton Feldman: Vertical Thoughts 4 (1963)
Frederic Rzewski: Dreadful Memories (1978)
Henry Cowell: Fabric (1920)
Béla Bartók: Chromatic Invention (1926-39)
Julius Eastman: Piano 2 (1986)

as well as brief example excerpts from:
Federico Mompou | Variations on a Theme of Chopin (1938-57)
Lukas Foss | Solo (1981)
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