Maryanne Amacher: Adjacencies (1965)

Maryanne Amacher: Adjacencies (1965)

“A mesmerizing, lushly enveloping, rare Maryanne Amacher work rescued from the archives.” Lucid Culture

"The music shifted slowly and tectonically, from sepulchral flickers, to vast washes of sound punctuated by playful rhythmic accents, occasionally rising to an epically enveloping intensity that bordered on sheer horror and then fell away"  —Delarue, New York Music Daily

Maryanne Amacher (1938–2009) is a composer of large-scale, fixed-duration sound installations, and a highly original thinker in the areas of perception, sound spatialization, creative intelligence, and aural architecture. Known primarily as an electronic composer, she also wrote a handful of pieces for classical instruments using experimental forms of notation. Adjacencies, a graphic score for two percussionists and electronics, was written in 1965. The work directs performers by sending their microphone signals to a changing array of speakers surrounding the audience, combining otherwise distinct worlds of sound. Ian Antonio and Russell Greenberg, of the experimental piano-percussion quartet Yarn/Wire, will perform Adjacencies, with sound distribution by Daniel Neumann and Woody Sullender. 

Blank Forms commissioned this version of Adjacencies in 2017, for its first performance since the premiere in 1966.

About the Artists 

Maryanne Amacher (1938–2009) is frequently cited as a pioneer of what has come to be called sound art, although her thought and creative practice consistently challenges key assumptions about the capacities and limitations of this nascent genre. Often considered to be part of a post-Cageian lineage, her work anticipates some of the most important developments in network culture, media arts, acoustic ecology, and sound studies.  

Amacher toured the United States with the group Musica Elettronica Viva during 1970. In 1980, Amacher occupied the conductor Dennis Russell Davies' Victorian home in Minneapolis to create a sound installation series, Music for Sound-Joined Rooms for a New Music America event. After receiving her Grants to Artists award from FCA in 1998, Amacher released Sound Characters (Making the Third Ear) (1999) on John Zorn’s label Tzadik, and contributed to Zorn's collection of critical writings Arcana III: Musicians on Music (2000). Her work has been presented at the Walker Art Center, The Kitchen, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. 

Amacher often collaborated with Merce Cunningham and John Cage. She composed the music for Cunningham's Torse (1976) and several other evening-length works. She produced a storm soundtrack for Cage's Lecture on the Weather (1976), and a sound environment piece titled Close Up to accompany his Empty Words (1978). Amacher and experimental guitarist Thurston Moore collaborated on a project that is captured in the thirty-minute film day trip maryanne (2005).  

After receiving her 1998 FCPA grant, Amacher was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica in the Digital Music category for her project TEO! A sonic sculpture! in 2005. Prior to her Grants to Artists award, she was a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies during the 1970s. She also completed a fellowship at Harvard University and was in residence at the University of Buffalo, New York. 

Amacher studied piano at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied composition with George Rochberg. Amacher studied privately with Karlheinz Stockhausen and was the first Rosekrans Artist in Residence at Mills College in 1993. She was on the faculty of Bard College in the department of Music/Sound, where she taught electronic music until the time of her death.

Percussionist Ian Antonio’s breadth of experience—concertizing across four continents with a wide variety of chamber ensembles, orchestras, experimental rock bands, avant-garde theatre companies, and as a soloist, conductor, and educator—has led him to develop a unique sound and approach to both performing and teaching. Ian is a founding member of the piano percussion quartet Yarn/Wire, a core member of the Wet Ink Ensemble, and a member of the percussion ensemble Talujon. He has performed at prestigious venues across the globe, including Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, U.S. Library of Congress, Edinburgh International Festival, Barbican Centre, and Shanghai Symphony Hall, and held residencies at institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Duke University. Ian is currently a member of the faculty at Purchase College where he teaches private lessons, rep class, and a hand-drumming workshop, among other duties. Ian holds a BM from the Manhattan School of Music and an MM and DMA from Stony Brook University.

New York-based percussionist Russell Greenberg enjoys exploring the creative and unclassifiable music of our time. Internationally sought after for his singular approach and interpretation, he strives to share his passion for the musical experience with a wide variety of audiences. Russell is a member of Either/Or and the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, and is a founding member of the piano and percussion quartet, Yarn/Wire, where he has collaborated with many of today's leading composers to craft a body of new, wide-reaching and vital repertoire. At the vanguard of contemporary music, Russell frequently tours the world, having appeared at the Ultima (Oslo), Tectonics (Glasgow), Lincoln Center (NY), Barbican (UK), and Rainy Days (Luxembourg) festivals among others, and is a regular visiting artist at universities including Columbia, Brown, and Stanford. Russell received his BA in music from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002, where he studied percussion with William Winant, and with Eduardo Leandro at Stony Brook University, where he earned his MM in 2004 and a DMA in 2009.

Daniel Neumann is a Brooklyn-based sound artist, organizer and audio engineer, originally from Germany. He holds a master’s degree in media art from the Academy of Visual Art Leipzig and also studied electronic music composition under Emanuele Casale in Catania, Italy. In his artistic practice he uses conceptual and often collaborative strategies to explore sound, sound material and its modulation through space, situation and media. Curatorially he runs an event series in NYC and Berlin (CT::SWaM) that engages in spatial sound works and focussed listening.

Woody Sullender is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. His pieces encompass a myriad of media including sculpture, video games, performance, theater, music, installation, architecture, origami, and even sonic weaponry. His recent work utilizes video game space as an arena to undermine specific modernist ideologies and rituals of music reception. Sullender has performed internationally at venues such as the Kitchen (with Sergei Tcherepnin), Issue Project Room (Brooklyn, NY), the River to River Festival, the Schindler House (Los Angeles), SculptureCenter (NYC), Abrons Art Center (NYC), Les Instants Chavirés (Paris), Chicago Cultural Center, DNK-Amsterdam (with Seamus Cater), and many others. He has been an artist in residence or visiting artist at art technology hubs STEIM (Amsterdam), Harvestworks (NL), and Brown University’s MEME program. Recently, he has worked as a member of Supreme Connections in re-interpreting the work of Maryanne Amacher at venues such as the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam).

Associated Images: 

SAT 5/18
8:30 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff