A lecture by Maxime Guitton, tracing the thread connecting a dense constellation of locations, landscapes and artists – John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Simone Forti, Joan Jonas, Michelangelo Antonioni, Cy Twombly, and Trisha Brown among them – who populate Alvin Curran’s Rome-based archive.
In 2017, Marseille-based music historian Maxime Guitton began a year-long research project exploring the archives of American composer, improviser and pedagogue, Alvin Curran, located in his adopted home of Rome, Italy.
Since 1964, Curran has worked at the crossroads of composition and improvisation, electronics and instrumental music, radio works and sound installations – often in conversation with post-modern dance, Arte Povera, Fluxus, minimalism, free improvisation, avant-garde theatre, experimental poetry, and artists’ film. In his research, Guitton unveils this crucial and still little known part of avant-garde musical and performing arts history to understand the way an experimental artistic practice –through radical politics, communal experience, contemplation of nature and solitude – can make history.
Maxime Guitton is a Marseille-based music historian whose main areas of research – musical minimalism and the history of mountaineering have led him to contribute to musical programmes, workshops, conferences, listening sessions, round tables, radio broadcasts and publications with colleges, art centres and museums including ECAL, École du Magasin, Carré d’art, Villa du Parc, Le Plateau, Bétonsalon, Le BAL, Fondation Cartier, CAPC and Center Pompidou. Between 2009 and 2011 he assisted the composer Éliane Radigue. In 2017–2018, he was a resident at the Villa Medici in Rome where he carried out archival research on the composer Alvin Curran. Guitton is currently responsible for the artistic and cultural programming of the School of Fine Arts in Marseille.
Alvin Curran is an American composer based in Rome who has realised a long and fruitful career as a composer/performer/ installation artist, writer, and teacher in the American experimental music tradition. His music, whether chamber works, radio-art, large-scale environmental theatre, or solo performance, embraces all sounds, all spaces, and all people.
This event is part of Bristol New Music, a major experimental music festival in the city between 23 to 26 April 2020. Bristol New Music is a collaboration between Colston Hall, Arnolfini, Spike Island, St George’s Bristol and the University of Bristol.