Making It New--America's Avant-Garde Utopia

10 Jun 2011
10:00:00 - 13:30:00
Caplan Hall, Terra Building, University of the Arts

The Philadelphia Music Project and Bowerbird Present

A Book Lecture & Panel Discussion
Making It New--America's Avant-Garde Utopia:
Evenings for New Music, Buffalo, 1964-1980

Friday, June 10, 2011, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Caplan Hall, Terra Building
211 S. Broad Street, 17th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

*9:45 to 10 a.m. *Sign-In
** 10 to 10:35 a.m. *Presentation: Renee Levine Packer
10:35 to 10:45 a.m. *Break
10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. *Panel discussion: Joan La Barbara, Renee Levine Packer, Jan Williams; Moderated by Steven Swartz
12:30 to 1:30 p.m. **Buffet Luncheon

The Center of the Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNYAB) transformed a sleepy, postindustrial city into a hotbed of the avant-garde, "bigger and hipper than anything ever held in New York or Paris" (Life magazine, 1965), and represents an important, under-recognized chapter in the history of American music.

Based on a plan by composer Lukas Foss, the Rockefeller Foundation provided annual fellowships for young composers and virtuoso instrumentalists to live in Buffalo for up to two years at a time, creating a cadre of likeminded musicians who spent their time studying, creating, and performing complex and often controversial new work. From this experiment emerged a legendary group of composers and musicians--George Crumb, Terry Riley, Cornelius Cardew, Maryanne Amacher, Frederic Rzewski, David Tudor, Julius Eastman, and many more.

In 1972, Morton Feldman joined the faculty of SUNYAB and remained there until his death in 1987. During this period, Feldman assured his legacy as a master teacher and was also able to focus intently on composing. In this environment of exploration and openness, he composed his most singular and arguably most important works, including many of those featured in Bowerbird's AMERICAN SUBLIME festival, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project.

*PRESENTATION: *Renee Levine Packer, the Center's administrative and managing director from 1965-1978 and author of This Life of Sounds, will present a slide lecture on the Center, complete with rare photos and historic recordings, including the first recording of Terry Riley's In C.

*PANEL: *Renee Levine Packer will be joined by percussionist-composer Jan Williams, who served in various roles, including director, conductor, and artistic director, of the Center, and composer-vocalist Joan La Barbara, a frequent performer with the Creative Associates and on the Evenings for New Music. Steven Swartz will moderate.

AMERICAN SUBLIME, presented by Bowerbird, is the first major festival in Philadelphia devoted to the music of Morton Feldman (1926-87), Saturday, June 4 to Sunday, June 12, 2011. The festival includes seven concerts at venues throughout the city, with performances by some of the leading Feldman interpreters of our time. AMERICAN SUBLIME focuses on music from the last years of Feldman's life, all of it performed for the first time in Philadelphia. The centerpiece is an extremely rare performance of his monumental six-hour String Quartet No. 2, which concludes the festival at the Philadelphia Cathedral on June 12.

The event is offered free of charge.

Registration deadline: Friday, June 3, 2011
To register for this workshop, please call PMP at 267.350.4960 or email Elizabeth Sayre at

Registration is required.

Photo: Jan Williams, Joan La Barbara, and Nora Post at a rehearsal at Albright-Knox Art Gallery Auditorium.

Photo courtesy of SUNY Buffalo Music Library.