Catching up with … Mills College’s Fred Frith

Fred Frith’s career as an educator is profiled:

Wreathed in early-morning fog, the Mills College campus in the Oakland hills looks like anything but the birthplace of experimental music.

But inside the Spanish colonial-style buildings on the 135-acre school – the first women’s college west of the Rockies – the Music Conservatory has for 80 years hosted the cream of the avant-garde.

Titanic talents have taught, performed and studied here, including Henry Cowell, John Cage, Lou Harrison and Darius Milhaud, electronic music pioneer Pauline Oliveros, minimalists Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and jazz innovator Roscoe Mitchell.

So it is pitch-perfect that the head of the department today is a musician who made his name in rock ‘n’ roll.

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