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September 1, 2012
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v2.1 Reference


Scores by Alvin Lucier

First edition of this experimental music classic is now available

Chambers is a virtually complete collection of composer Alvin Lucier's major works from 1965 to 1977, interspersed with twelve interviews with the composer by Douglas Simon. Each score is written in prose and may be read by musicians as instructions for performance or by general readers as descriptions of imaginary musical activities. In response to Simon's searching questions, Lucier expands on each composition, not only explaining its genesis and development but also revealing its importance to the vigorously experimental American tradition to which Alvin Lucier belongs.

Many of his compositions jolt conventional notions of the role of composer, performer, and listener, and the spaces in which they play and listen. His works are scored for an astonishing range of instruments: seashells, subway stations, toy crickets, sonar guns, violins, synthesizers, bird calls, and Bunsen burners. All are unique explorations of acoustic phenomena – echoes, brain waves, room resonances – and radically transform the idea of music as metaphor into that of music as physical fact.

About the Authors

ALVIN LUCIER was born in Nashua, NH, and attended the Portsmouth Abbey School, Yale, and Brandeis. He lived in Rome for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship. He has performed extensively in the United States and Europe in solo concerts and with the Sonic Arts Union, which he co-founded with composers Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma, and with the Viola Farber Dance Company. He has taught and lectured at Harvard, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Center for Music Experiment at the University of California at San Diego, and from 1962 to 1969 was on the faculty of Brandeis University. He is currently professor of music and chairperson of the music department at Wesleyan University. Lucier has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers' physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live musical performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. In collaboration with electronic designer John Fullemann, he recently created a completely solar-powered sound piece in the foyer of the City Savings Bank in Middletown, Conn. He has also made music for the theatre, including the Broadway production of John Roc's Fire! and the American Shakespeare Festival production of Henry V. Several of his works can be heard on CBS Odyssey, Mainstream, Source, Cramps (Italy), and Lovely Music records. DOUGLAS SIMON earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in music at Wesleyan University. He has composed music and sound for summer and off-Broadway theater productions. He owns and operates Studio Consultants, Inc., a New York City firm engaged in the acoustic and electronic design of recording studios. He conducted these interviews with Lucier during the period (1968-78) in which most of the scores included in Chambers were composed.


"Alvin Lucier's work in live and taped electronic music has produced beautiful and influential results. I particularly admire I am Sitting in a Room as a moving, personal taped speech piece, and Music for Solo Performer as the first work with brain wave generated sounds. Reading Alvin Lucier's reflections on these and many other works gives one a clear insight into both the actual making of these pieces and the lucid and original mind that produced them."—Steve Reich

"Lucier and I met for the first time in Cleveland, where we were giving a concert together with David Tudor. Lucier was performing his Music for Solo Performer. The atmosphere was charged as the electrodes were applied to his scalp in order to detect the brain waves. I kept thinking that he looked like Edison discovering the light bulbIn my mind, Lucier is the poet of electronic music."—Pauline Oliveros

"Pythagoras would be very jealous of Alvin Lucier. Whereas Prof. Pythagoras could only speculate about the resonance of sound and the cosmos, Prof. Lucier has managed to penetrate into these resonances cosmologiques through his deep insight into sonic biology, medical electronics, and the most advanced post-modern aesthetics. As a composer he has mastered the subtlety of a sushi cook in orchestrating these heterophonies."—Nam June Paik
Wesleyan University Press


9780819573087 : chambers-lucier-simon
Electronic book text
190 Pages
$27.99 USD

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Eight Lectures on Experimental Music

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