The ArtScience Interfaculty, the Institute for Sonology and the Composition Department of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague present:
- â€˜Everything is Realâ€™ lecture by Alvin Lucier
- ‘I Am Sitting in a Room’ (1969) performed by Alvin Lucier and the Spatial Interaction Lab of the ArtScience Interfaculty
Location: Royal Conservatoire - Kees van Barenzaal, Juliana van Stolberglaan 1, 2595 CA The Hague
Time and Date: Sunday May 30th at 14:00
This event is a coproduction with Dag in de Branding and TAG in The Hague
I Am Sitting in a Room (1969) is one of composer Alvin Lucier’s best known works, featuring Lucier recording himself narrating a text, and then playing the recording back into the room, re-recording it. The new recording is then played back and re-recorded, and this process is repeated. Since all rooms have characteristic resonance or formant frequencies (e.g. different between a large hall and a small room), the effect is that certain frequencies are emphasized as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself. The recited text describes this process in actionâ€”it begins “I am sitting in a room, different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice,” and the rationale, concluding, “I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have,” referring to his own stuttering.
Lucier had also specified that a performance need not use his text and the performance may be recorded in any room.Ö°
Alvin Lucier was born in 1931 in Nashua, New Hampshire. He was educated in Nashua public and parochial schools, the Portsmouth Abbey School, Yale, and Brandeis and spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship. While at Yale he studied music theory with Howard Boatwright and composition with Richard Donovan, David Kraehenbuehl and Quincy Porter, and at Brandeis with Arthur Berger and Harold Shapero. During summers of 1958-60 he studied orchestration with Aaron Copland and composition with Lukas Foss at Tanglewood. From 1962 to 1970 he taught at Brandeis, where he conducted the Brandeis University Chamber Chorus, which devoted much of its time to the performance of new music. In 1966 he co-founded, with Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, the Sonic Arts Union, which, until 1979, gave numerous concerts in the United States and Europe. Since 1970 he has taught at Wesleyan University where he is John Spencer Camp Professor of Music.
Lucierâ€™s early electronic music includes the use of brain waves in live performance (Music for Solo Performer, 1965); the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, (The Queen of the South, 1972), and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes (Vespers (1969) and I am sitting in a room (1970). His recent works include a series of sound installations and works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which rhythms and spatial phenomena are created by means of close tuning.
His most recent instrumental works include Coda Variations for 6-valve solo tuba; Twonings for cello and piano; Canon, commissioned by the Bang on a Can All Stars, and Music with Missing Parts, a re-orchestration of Mozartâ€™s Requiem, premiered at the Mozarteum, Salzburg in December 2007.
Alvin Lucier has collaborated with John Ashbery and Robert Wilson and Italian artist Maurizio Mochetti. His recent sound installation, 6 Resonant Points Along a Curved Wall, accompanied Sol LeWittâ€™s enormous sculpture, Curved Wall, in Graz, Austria, and in the Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University in January 2005.
Mr. Lucier has participated in numerous festivals and residencies, including the DAAD Kunstler Program in Berlin; New Music Days, Ostrava, Czech Republic; June in Buffalo, and the Sparks Festival at the University of Minnesota. In April 1997, Lucier presented a concert of his works on the Making Music Series at Carnegie Hall. In March 2008 he presented a concert of his works on the musicadhoy Festival in Madrid, and in March 2009 the MaerzMusik Festival in Berlin presented a portrait concert of Lucierâ€™s work, including Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Tuba, commissioned by the festival.
Lucier regularly contributes articles to books and periodicals. Reflections/Reflexionen, a bi-lingual edition of Lucierâ€™s scores, interviews and writings, is available from MusikTexte, KÃ¶ln. In addition, several of his works are available on Antiopic (Sigma Editions), Cramps (Italy), Disques Montaigne, Source, Mainstream, Mode, New World, CBS Odyssey, Lovely Music, Nonesuch and Wergo.
In 2006 Alvin Lucier was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States and in December 2007 received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Plymouth, England, during the Dartington College of the Arts Awards.