The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music: The Interviews

Posted by Maxine Cook, Marketing Assistant

This week, James Saunders has uploaded his interview with Alvin Lucier.


Interview with Alvin Lucier:

I initially met Alvin Lucier in Ostrava at the first New Music Days, organized by Peter Kotik. His work had fascinated me for some time, so it was a great opportunity to find out more in person. Lucier has been central to developments in experimental electronic music since the 1960s, with a focus on acoustic phenomena as the material and subject matter for much of his earlier work. From pieces like I am sitting in a room (1969) in which the continual playback and recording of a text in the same space reinforces the room’s overtones to create a throbbing harmonic drone, to Still Lives (2003), which sets piano notes against slow sliding sine tones to create variable beating patterns, their audibility is framed by his compositional approach. Subsequent work has tended to draw on these techniques and instrumentalize them to various degrees, such as with Diamonds (1999) for three orchestras where the violins replace the sine waves. Whilst in Lucier’s work processes are articulated with extreme clarity, it is music which constantly confounds expectations. It is of course possible to read his scores and gain an understanding of the principles involved, but it is only through the acoustic reality of the sounding result that the music emerges. One of the questions posed by the work of all the interviewees here is a consideration of how we listen, and this is in many ways most clearly exemplified by Lucier.

The interview took place at Dartington College of Arts on 14 November 2007.

Read the full interview here.


The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental MusicAll the interviews from James Saunders can be found in The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music.

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