November 28 - December 19, 2017
Overwriting by Steve Piccolo
Democratic, irreverent and traditionally experimental, Curran travels in a computerized covered wagon between the Golden Gate and the Tiber River, and makes music for every occasion with any sounding phenomena -- a volatile mix of lyricism and chaos, structure and indeterminacy, fog horns, fiddles and fiddle heads. He is dedicated to the restoration of dignity to the profession of making non-commercial music as part of a personal search for future social, political and spiritual forms.
Curran's music-making embraces all the contradictions (composed/improvised, tonal/atonal, maximal/minimal...) in a serene dialectical encounter. His more than 200 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizer, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus. Wheter in the intimate form of his well-known solo performances, or pure chambers music, experimental radio works or large-scale site-specific sound environments and installations, all forge a very personal language from all the languages through dedicated reasearch and recombinant invention.
PhotoComposition by Roberto Masotti "Alvin Curran, Milano 2007" from the series Life- Size-Acts
Alvin Curran, born December 13, 1938, Providence, Rhode Island. From five years: piano lessons, trombone, marching bands, Synagogue chants, Jazz, and his father's dance bands. Becomes an artist at age 13 in an apple tree at the house of his lifelong friend, poet Clark Coolidge. Hears Spike Jones, the Rhodes Island Philarmonic, Satchmo, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, The Band of America, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bartok and Christian Wolff.
Studies composition with Ron Nelson (B.A. Brown University, 1960) and with Elliott Carter and Mel Powell (M.Mus; Yale School of Music 1963). During summer vacations, plays European crossings with the "Brunotes" on the Holland American Line, in a Greek Dance Band in the Catskills, and in the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas.
Photo by Roberto Masotti "Alvin Curran, Roma 1977" from the series You Turned The Tables On Me
Continues studies and friendship with Carter in Berlin (1964 Ford Foundation Grant), meets Stravinsky, Xenakis, Berio, Yuji Takahashi, Andriessen, Remo Remotti, and above all Rzewski. Goes to Darmstadt, hangs with Babbitt and Earle Brown, hears Stockhausen and Ligeti. Goes to Rome with Joel Chadabe and plays piano in bars on via Veneto, meets Franco Evangelisti and Cornelius Cardew.
In the MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA years (1966-1971 in Rome), performs in over 200 concerts in Europe and the USA with Teitelbaum and Rzewski, Carol Plantamura, Ivan Vandor, Alan Bryant and Joe Phetteplace; and makes significant artistic encounters with Giuseppe Chiari, Edith Schloss, AMM, Cardew, Steve Lacy, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Steve ben Israel, Anthony Braxton, Simone Forti, Steve Reich, Joan La Barbara, Michael Nyman, La Monte Young, Trisha Brown, Ashley Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Larry Austin, Bill Smith, Ketoff, Robert Moog, Nuova Consonanza, MEV2, Memè Perlini, Mario Ricci, Maria Monti, Prima Materia, Ron Bunzi, Phil Glass, Charlemagne Palestine, Terry Riley, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Gregory Reeves, Serge Tcherepnin, Kosugi, Pulsa, Maryanne Amacher, John Cage, David Tudor, Morton Feldman. Scelsi becomes his friend and mentor.
Photo(s) by Silvia Lelli "Alvin Curran at Home, Roma 1978" (vintage print)
THE MAIN STORY
With a fortuitous bang, he begins his musical journey (1965 in Rome) as co-founder of the radical music collective MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA, as a solo performer, and as s composer for Rome's avantgarde theater scene. In the 70's, he created a poetic series of solo works for synthesizer, voice, taped sounds and found objects. Seeking to develop new musical spaces, and now considered one of the leading figures in making music outside of the concert halls -- he develops a series of concerts for three, then six large ensembles performing together from many European Capitals. By connecting digital samplers to MIDI Grands (Diskklavier) and computers, since 1987, he produces an enriched body of solo performance works -- an ideal synthesis between the concert hall and all sounding phenomena in the world. He creates a visually striking series of sound installations, some of them in collaboration with visual artists including Paul Klerr, Melissa Gould, Kristin Jones, Pietro Fortuna, Umberto Bignardi, Uli Sigg. Throughout these years he continues to write numerous pieces for radio and for acoustic instruments.
Photo by Silvia Lelli "Alvin Curran in Vicolo dei
Soldati, Roma 1978" (vintage print)