Bowerbird presented the first multi-concert retrospective of Julius Eastman, an African American composer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died homeless at the age of 49, leaving an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings. Eastman studied piano and composition at the Curtis Institute of Music and later relocated to Buffalo where he was a member of the Creative Associates, under the leadership of Morton Feldman, before moving to New York City. Informed by research completed with support from a 2015 Center Discovery grant, Bowerbird presented four concerts that showcased Eastman's compositional practice. Included were nine works, most of which had not been heard since their premieres decades ago, such as Thruway (1970), performed by soloist Devonte Hynes; Macle (1969), Eastman's only score to use exclusively graphic notation, performed by the Ekmeles ensemble; and Stay On It (1972), an example of musical minimalism infused with pop music chord changes, performed by Nextworks. An exhibition of video works inspired by Eastman's archival materials, curated by Pew Fellow Tiona McClodden (2016), accompanied the concerts. The project will travel to The Kitchen in New York City from January 19–February 10, 2018.
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