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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Performances Reviews

Cornish College musicians re-create historic John Cage, Lou Harrison performances

An article reviews the performance and discusses a bit of the Cage / Harrison history.

In the years between their first collaboration and their 1992 Seattle appearance, Cage and Harrison had risen from obscurity to become titans of the American avant-garde. Harrison’s forays into music of non-Western cultures helped fuel the world-music movement of the 1980s. Cage’s experimentation with chance composing techniques, altered instruments and ambient sound — or “Silence,” as the title of his 1961 book proclaimed it — was equally influential and brought him international renown. That night in 1992 marked their last public appearance together in Seattle — the city where they’d made pivotal contributions to the Western percussion tradition half a century earlier. Cage died that August; Harrison in 2003. But anyone wanting insight into what they accomplished here and elsewhere will have their chance starting Thursday with “Drums along the Pacific,” a four-day festival at Cornish celebrating the work of Cage, Harrison and their mentor Henry Cowell.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]