Music, installations and performances from the sound art's pioneer
Alvin Lucier Festival
Moscow | 2—7 October 2017
On October 2–7, Moscow hosted Everything Is Real, an international retrospective festival dedicated to Alvin Lucier, a legendary American composer and a pioneer of experimental music and sound art.

Alvin Lucier (born in 1931) has pioneered in many areas of music composition, performance, and sound installation. Following John Cage's concept of "sound acting", Alvin Lucier's work examines the acoustics of space, physical properties of sound, trajectory of its movement, psychology and physiology of its perception. His compositions sonify physical and biological phenomena, and unlock their unique aesthetic potential.

For the first time in Russia, Alvin Lucier will perform personally some of his legendary piecesthat have become the first examples of sound art in the history of music: I Am Sitting in a Room for voice and electro-acoustic tape, Music for Solo Performer for a performer of amplified brain waves and percussion, and Bird and Person Dyning for a performer with binaural microphones, loudspeakers and electronic sounds.

The festival will feature several Russian premieres and a world premiere of Lucier's work Sicklewritten exclusively for the festival Everything Is Real.

Along with Lucier's performance, the festival will feature works written by composers of the New York School: String Quartet in Four Parts by John Cage, Structures for String Quartet by Morton Feldman, and Arbor Vitae by James Tenney.

The festival will take place in Moscow's major cultural centers, including Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow International House of Music, Theater of Nations' New Space, and Electrotheater Stanislavsky.

The musical program will run in parallel with meet-the-artist sessions with Alvin Lucier, a master class for composers, a set of lectures, and a portrait documentary entitled No Ideas but in Things: The Composer Alvin Lucier.

The composer's closest colleagues will take part in the festival as performers: Hauck Harder(Germany), an experimental physicist and composer, a technical assistant and director of the documentary about Lucier, and Trevor Saint (USA), the first performer of Ricochet Lady for solo acoustic glockenspiel. Other performers will be leading Russian contemporary music bands, including Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Studio for New Music quartet, and Questa Musica, and soloists Mikhail Dubov (piano), Ivan Bushuev (flute, sound design), Olesya Rostovskaya (theremin), Vladimir Gorlinsky, Arman Gushchian, Sasha Yelina, Alexey Sysoev, Kirill Shirokov (performance), and Alexander Khubeev (sound design).

The concert at Electrotheater Stanislavsky will be accompanied by optical and video installations created by Andrey Topunov (October 7).

The festival is organized by the Trajectory of Music cultural platform in partnership with the Moscow State Conservatory, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow International House of Music, Theater of Nations' New Space and Electrotheater Stanislavsky, and supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

Arman Gushchyan is an artistic director of the festival.

Alvin Lucier is one of the most innovative composers of the second half of the 20th century, who, along with New York School composers John Cage and David Tudor, La Monte Young, and his colleagues from the Sonic Arts Union, Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, has been a father of experimental aesthetics in acoustic and electro-acoustic music in the 1950–1970s. Following John Cage's concept of "sound acting", Alvin Lucier abandoned the tradition of referring to the history of music and relying on musical tradition, and focused his efforts on a new area – a study of the physical properties of sound – moving towards the phenomenology of sound. He put all his musical experience into studying the phenomenon of sound, letting us feel it physically and poetically and making listeners and himself as a composer analyze, watch and discover something new in its nature. For Lucier and Cage, sound ceased to be a carrier of composer's ideas, feelings, or forms or expressions. But while Cage continued to view sound as an independent phenomenon and an object of aesthetic pleasure for the listener, Lucier made sound a subject of consistent research, which revealed different aspects of this unique phenomenon in his compositions.

The significance of Alvin Lucier festival EVERYTHING IS REAL is not only that Russian listeners will have a chance to hear live the music by a living legend and a pioneer of experimental music and sound art, but also that after listening to Lucier's compositions people will perceive the surrounding sounds and music of other composers in a completely different way. Lucier's creativity is a space where people discover unbelievable and previously unknown quality, depth and beauty of sound.

They will hear themselves hearing. In his 86 years, Alvin Lucier is one of the most respected composers in the world. However, only a few in Russia know his compositions. For the first time in Russia, famous compositions will be performed by the composer himself and the best Russian musicians from new music bands. At the request of the Trajectory of Music cultural platform, Lucier wrote a new composition for the Moscow festival. Called Sickle, it is written for solo theremin with a digital delay system and five instrumentalists.

For me personally, Lucier's music is significant for opening us a new – phenomenological – way of listening, which combines purity and soberness of mind with a deep perception of physical reality and related experience of knowing. What appeals to me is the distance to the listener's mind that is only disturbed by its content born by personal experience of contacting live sound. Everything is real, both objectivity of the physical world and subjectivity of our perception.

Arman Gushchian

Artistic Director
Everything Is Real festival

Photo credit: Amanda Lucier
"We live at a strange time. I often feel that art and music have become particularly important for us to survive. We need means of communication that ignore the conventional division of people into different nations. Sound and light waves travel freely through time and space – they know no borders.

I want to create music that is free from national prejudice – no folk music, anthems or references to American, European or any other culture.

Instead, I imitate the languages of bats, dolphins and other terrestrial and sea creatures using echolocation and other forms of sonic communication when needed – believe me.

Last time I was in Moscow in 1997. That was also a strange time. Being invited twice over the last 20 years shows that people living in this country firmly believe that art is now as important as it used to be... and will always be".

Alvin Lucier

21 September 2017
Middletown, Connecticut, USA

everything is real
Элвин Люсье (композитор, перформер)
Alvin Lucier was born in 1931 in Nashua, New Hampshire. He has a degree from Yale University and Brandeis University. After his graduation, Lucier spent two years in Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship. Upon return, he worked at Brandeis as director of the University Chamber Chorus in 1962–1970, focusing on performance of new music. In 1966, Alvin Lucier, Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Gordon Mumma founded a musical band Sonic Arts Union, which was active till 1976. In 1968–2011, Alvin Lucier worked as a professor of music at Wesleyan University for over 40 years. At present, he continues his creative work, giving lectures and performing his compositions in Asia, Europe and the USA.

Alvin Lucier worked with John Ashbery whose poetry inspired Lucier to write a composition called Theme, and Robert Wilson who staged Skin, Meat, Bone. His sound installation 6 Resonant Points Along a Curved Wallaccompanied the demonstration of an enormous sculpture Curved Wall created by a major conceptual artist of the 20th century, Sol LeWitt.

Lucier's recent instrumental works include Coda Variations for 6-valve solo tuba, Twonings for cello and piano, and Canon, re-orchestration of Mozart's Requiem premiered at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in December 2007. In 2012, Alter Ego premiered Two Circles, a chamber piece created specially for the Venice Biennale. In New York, Pamplemousse premiered December 12th (2013), and Bang on a Can All Stars premiered Firewood (2014).

In recent years, Alvin Lucier has been a resident of the Tectonics Festival in Glasgow and Ultima Festival in Oslo. He gave a portrait concert at the Louvre, Paris, with cellist Charles Curtis. The year 2014 featured three evenings of Lucier's music performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble in Chicago, two Roulette series concerts performed by Callithumpian Consort in Brooklyn, several concerts at the Tectonics Festival in Reykjavik, and a three-day festival of his music at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

In 1995, MusikTexte published Reflections/Reflexionen, the first bi-lingual edition of Lucier's scores, interviews and writings in German and English. Lucier's latest book called Music 109: Notes on Experimental Music was published by Wesleyan Press in 2012. In 2013, New World Records recorded three of Lucier's compositions for the orchestra.

Alvin Lucier has an award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) for his personal contribution to music and an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom). In 2011, Wesleyan University celebrated Alvin Lucier's retirement with a three-day festival of his music.

In 2017, Moscow hosted a six-day festival of his work, Everything Is Real, organized by the Trajectory of Music cultural platform founded by its artistic director and composer Arman Gushchian. For this event, Alvin Lucier wrote a new composition called Sickle for solo theremin with a digital delay system, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano.
2 October
Lecture and meeting with Alvin Lucier
Master-class for composers from Alvin Lucier
2 October | 15:30 | Мoscow Tchaikovskiy Conservatory Conference-hall
Alvin Lucier's Lecture on New-York School composers
String of Studio for New Music Ensemble: John Cage – String Quartet in Four parts, Morton Feldman– Structures, James Tenney – Arbor Vitae, Alvin LucierVespers and Navigations
3 October | 20:00 | Multimedia Ar Museum, Moscow
Alvin Lucier (performance), Trevor Saint (bells), Olesya Rostovskaya (терменвокс), Mikhail Dubov (piano), Hauke Harder, Ivan Bushuev (sound design) and Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (MCME)
Alvin Lucier:
Ricochet Lady, I am sitting in a room,
(мировая премьера), Nothing Is Real
4 October | 19:00 | Moscow international Performing Arts Center - Chamber Hall
Hauke Harder: «Sound and space. Akvin Lucier's Sound installations» — lecture
Conversation with Hauke Harder and Alvin Lucier
NO IDEAS BUT IN THINGS — documentary about Alvin Lucier. A film by Viola Rusche and Hauke Harder
5 October | 20:00 | New Space, Theatre of Nations
MEMORY SPACE – concert
soloist of Questa Musica ensemble, Vladimir Garlinsky, Arman Gushchyan, Sasha Elina, Alexey Sysoev, Kyrill Shirokov (performance), Alexander Khubeev (sound design)
Alvin Lucier:
Opera with Objects, Music for Cello and one or more amplified vases, (Moscow) Memory Space, In Memoriam Jon Higgins, Q
Alvin Lucier's lecture about performative art
Bird and Person Dyning и Music for Solo Performer
7 October | 19:00 | Electrotheatre Stanislavsky
Alvin Lucier (performance), Ivan Bushuev (flute), Hauke Harder (sound design)
Alvin Lucier:
Bird and Person Dyning, Almost New York, Music for Solo Performer
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