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The Getty Presents The Art of David Tudor: Indeterminacy and Performance in Postwar Culture

Free symposium and performances on May 17, 18, 19. Sponsored by the Getty Research Institute in collaboration with the California Institute of the Arts School of Music.

May 7, 2001

Los Angeles--The Art of David Tudor: Indeterminacy and Performance in Postwar Culture, a collaboration of the Getty Research Institute and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) School of Music, is the first international symposium to celebrate American musical pioneer David Tudor (1926-1996). Commemorating the 75th anniversary of Tudor's birth, the symposium includes opening events and the re-creation of Tudor's Rainforest IV sound sculpture installation at CalArts on May 17. The Getty Research Institute, which holds extensive Tudor archives, sponsors the symposium and related concerts on May 18 and 19. All events are free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required for those taking place at the Getty.

Known as a pianist and experimental composer of live electronic music, Tudor worked closely with John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Morton Feldman, Bill Viola, and Christian Wolff. His work was the catalyst for some of the most significant artistic innovations of the postwar period: indeterminacy (compositions with notational symbols rather than specific notes and sounds to guide performance); graphic notation (symbols to create a suggestive visualization of sound for the performer); and live electronic music performance.

The Tudor symposium is the culminating event in a series of three Getty Research Institute conferences this spring that focused on American avant-garde artists of the 1960s. David Tudor, like Andy Warhol, Harry Smith, and other artists whose pioneering work was addressed in the Getty's highly popular and critically acclaimed "Media Pop" and "Harry Smith" symposia, broke through artistic barriers to influence many aspects of contemporary art and music. Together, these conferences--featuring artists, scholars, authors, filmmakers, critics, and musicians--offer Los Angeles a dynamic forum for discussion and performance.

The Getty Research Institute is the repository of David Tudor's complete archives, including rare and unknown piano scores, performance materials, correspondence, and audiotapes that provide the departure point for the collaborative symposium and performances. "Scholars and artists can draw on our collections as the centerpiece for new interpretations of Tudor's art and explore its influence on contemporary directions in virtuosity, mixed media, and performance installation," says Nancy Perloff, collections curator of manuscripts and archives at the Research Institute.

During the symposium, an international group of scholars, composers, and art historians will use the Getty collections to analyze Tudor's methods of interpretation and composition, his collaboration with visual artists and composers, and his relation to the postwar American and European avant-gardes.

As part of the Tudor collaboration, the opening events at the CalArts School of Music on Thursday, May 17, 7-10:30 p.m., will feature the installation of Rainforest IV, an electroacoustic environment/sound sculpture that was conceived by Tudor in 1973. The CalArts presentation is realized through the cooperation of two performing groups: Composers Inside Electronics which includes John D.S. Adams, Paul DeMarinis, John Driscoll, Ralph Jones, Ron Kuivila, Matt Rogalsky, and Bill Viola; and a collective of CalArts composers and performers directed by Mark Trayle. From 8 to 9:30 p.m., a "Panel of David Tudor's Friends and Collaborators" will include composers Gordon Mumma, Pauline Oliveros, and Christian Wolff; visual artist Jackie Monnier; and electrical engineer Billy Klüver, in a conversation moderated by Jean Rigg.

On Friday and Saturday, May 18-19, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the symposium moves to the Getty Museum Lecture Hall for the presentation of papers and discussion. On continuous display in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium lobby will be filmmaker Molly Davies' six-channel DVD installation of David Tudor performing his Soundings: Ocean Diary with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Amsterdam in 1994.

On each day of the symposium, a free evening concert featuring music composed by Tudor or written for him will be held in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium. The programs will highlight little-known piano pieces in Tudor's oeuvre and two live electronics works in performances by CalArts music faculty Vicki Ray, David Rosenboom, and Mark Trayle, joined by composer Ron Kuivila.

"We are excited to be collaborating with CalArts on the David Tudor symposium," comments Tom Crow, director of the Getty Research Institute. "As we work together to break down boundaries and advance artistic understanding, the combination of the Tudor archives at the Getty and the creative resources of CalArts offers an invaluable opportunity to explore Tudor's art, interpret its impact, and share these discoveries."

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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