Julius Eastman’s Singular Minimalist Legacy 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Thirty years after he passed away from a cardiac arrest, alone at the age of 49 in Buffalo, New York, the artistic legacy of minimalist composer Julius Eastman is stronger and more visible than ever. Following the important work done by Mary Jane Leach in her book Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and his Music, which pursues the faint trails Eastman left behind after his decline into homelessness and eventually death, more and more of Eastman’s scores and recordings have become readily available. His compositions, once rarely performed by ensembles that Eastman wasn’t in himself, are now commonly performed and studied. Eastman’s place in the canon is being continually re-appraised, his name now mentioned alongside giants of New York minimalism like Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and La Monte Young. The recent release of Femenine, a 1974 recording of a pivotal transitional piece in Eastman’s oeuvre which features the composer himself on piano, offers important clues to the way his forward-thinking vision developed between his earliest and latest periods.