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Music for Merce: A Two-Night Celebration

Part of Merce Cunningham: Common Time Performances, Merce Cunningham: Common Time

“Cunningham made room for music, and the composers created music that made room for movement. An invitation always went out to listen.” —Los Angeles Times

Merce Cunningham and longtime partner/composer John Cage were renowned for their legendary collaborations with the most significant experimental musicians of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Join us to celebrate this remarkable legacy over two historic evenings with a festival of music and sound performances curated by composer/guitarist John King.

Featured with King are electronic music pioneer and longtime Merce Cunningham Dance Company associate David Behrman, contemporary classical composer Christian Wolff, and composer/performers Joan La Barbara, Fast Forward, Ikue Mori, George Lewis, Zeena Parkins, and Radiohead’s Philip Selway with London multi-instrumentalist Quinta.

Each evening consists of a separate set of solo, duo, ensemble, and landmark works, concluding with a collectively made real-time composition. For the program finale each evening, all 10 composers play a version of a Cunningham Event—each individually devising a unique time-score before performing together for one collective sound, revealed for the first time during the performance itself.

Program A: Thursday, February 23

  • Christian Wolff, “Or 4 People” (1994)
    Performed by Christian Wolff, George Lewis, David Behrman, and John King

  • Joan La Barbara, “Solitary Journeys of the Mind” (2011)
    Performed by Joan La Barbara

  • Philip Selway/Quinta, “Yaasholl” (2014)
    Performed by Philip Selway, Quinta, and Ikue Mori

  • Philip Selway/Quinta, “One Note Arpeggio” (2014)
    Performed by Philip Selway and Quinta

  • Philip Selway/Quinta, “Of Course I Do” (2014)
    Performed by Philip Selway, Quinta, and John King

  • John Cage, “Fontana Mix” with “Aria” and “Indeterminacy” (1958–ongoing)
    Performed simultaneously by Ikue Mori and David Behrman, Joan La Barbara, and Fast Forward

  • David Tudor, Untitled (1975/94)
    Performed by John King

  • John King, “petite ouverture en forme de mErCE CunninGHAm” (2009)
    Performed by Christian Wolff, Quinta, George Lewis, and John King

  • Event
    Performed by full ensemble

Program B: Friday, February 24

  • George Lewis, “Shadowgraph, 5” (1977)
    Performed by Joan La Barbara, George Lewis, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Quinta, and Fast Forward

  • Zeena Parkins, “Captiva Pieces for Acoustic Harp and Processing” (2016–ongoing)
    Performed by Zeena Parkins and David Behrman

  • David Behrman, “Long Throw” (2007–ongoing)
    Performed by David Behrman, Christian Wolff, John King George Lewis, Zeena Parkins, and Quinta

  • Ikue Mori
    Solo performed by Ikue Mori
    Duet performed by Ikue Mori and Christian Wolff

  • Earle Brown, “December” (1952) and “November” (1952) (performed simultaneously)
    Performed by Zeena Parkins, Joan La Barbara, Quinta, George Lewis, Philip Selway, and Christian Wolff

  • Fast Forward, “Octopoda” (2017)
    Performed by Fast Forward, Ikue Mori, Philip Selway, and George Lewis

  • Event
    Performed by full ensemble

Funding

The Walker Art Center’s Music Season media partner