Alvin Curran – Keynote

Alvin-Curran-2-480x638Alvin Curran is an internationally renowned and award-winning American composer who has received much recognition for compositions involving unconventional instruments, unusual performance situations and sites, and live-electronic improvisations.

As part of Balance-Unbalance 2015, Curran will give a keynote and direct one of his signature compositions Maritime Rites on Tempe Town Lake on 27 March.

It is a site-specific work to be performed on and near bodies of water, harbors, rivers, or lakes, featuring musicians in boats as well as sounds of water, ship horns, bird song and other acoustic properties of the outdoor environment. Maritime Rites exists in many different versions and has been adapted to many beautiful sites all over the world, such as lakes in Rome, Berlin, New York City’s Central Park and in Chicago, rivers in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Sydney Harbour and now in the desert setting of Tempe, Arizona.

Alvin Curran Bio:
 Democratic, irreverent, and experimental, Alvin Curran travels in a computerized covered wagon between the Golden Gate and the Tiber River and makes music for every occasion: a volatile mix of lyricism and chaos, structure and indeterminacy, fog horns, fiddles, and fiddle heads. Curran, the Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College from 1991 to 2006, is dedicated to the restoration of dignity to the profession of noncommercial music making as part of a search for social, political, and spiritual forms.

Curran’s music making embraces all contradictions—composed and improvised, tonal and atonal, maximal and minimal—in a serene, dialectical encounter. His more than 150 works feature taped and sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion, and chorus. Whether in the form of his well-known solo performances, pure chamber music, experimental radio works, or large-scale, site-specific sound environments and installations, each forge a very personal language through dedicated research and recombinant invention.

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 10.28.03 PMPerformances of Maritime Rites have fascinated listeners of all ages a
nd from all walks of life. Maritime Rites has received enthusiastic responses to the theatrical and joyful quality of the work and the sounds performed by musicians in boats and the overall sonic geography.


Alvin Curran's Keynote is supported by the School of Music and the Centre for Jewish Studies, ASU
School of Music Jewish Studies

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