Class of 1960 Lecture – Kyle Gann
"Music of the Spheres and Other Self-Defeating Paradigms"

Kyle Gann will give a lecture, Music of the Spheres and Other Self-Defeating Paradigms on his music in the context of the music of other experimental and post-minimalist composers on Thursday, May 8, at 4:15 p.m. in Bernhard Music Center, Room 30 on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.

Gann, born 1955 in Dallas, Texas, is a composer and was new-music critic for the Village Voice from 1986 to 2005. Since 1997 he has taught music history and theory at Bard College. He is the author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (Cambridge University Press, 1995), American Music in the 20th Century (Schirmer Books, 1997), and Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice (University of California Press, 2006).

Gann studied composition with Ben Johnston, Morton Feldman, and Peter Gena, and his music is often microtonal, using up to 37 pitches per octave. His rhythmic language, based on differing successive and simultaneous tempos, was developed from his study of Hopi, Zuni, and Pueblo Indian musics. His music has been performed on the New Music America, Bang on a Can, and Spoleto festivals. His major works include Transcendental Sonnets, a 35-minute work for choir and orchestra commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir; The Planets, commissioned by the Relache ensemble via Music in Motion and continued under a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artists’ Fellowship; The Hudson River Trilogy, a trio of microtonal chamber operas written with librettist Jeffrey Sichel, the first of which, Cinderella’s Bad Magic, was premiered in Moscow and St. Petersburg; and Sunken City, a piano concerto commissioned by the Orkest de Volharding in Amsterdam which is being performed by the Williams Symphonic Winds on Friday, May 9, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall.

In addition to Bard, Gann has taught at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, the School of the Art Instutute of Chicago, and Bucknell University. His writings include more than 2400 articles for more than 45 publications, including scholarly articles on La Monte Young (in Perspectives of New Music), Henry Cowell, Mikel Rouse, and other American composers. He writes the “American Composer” column for Chamber Music magazine, and he was awarded the Stagebill Award (1999) and Deems-Taylor Award (2003) for music criticism. His music is available on the New Albion, New World, Cold Blue, Lovely Music, New Tone, and Monroe Street labels. In 2003, the American Music Center awarded Gann its Letter of Distinction, along with Steve Reich, Wayne Shorter, and George Crumb.

The Class of 1960 Scholars Fund, established at their 25th Reunion, brings eminent researchers from other colleges and universities to campus to give colloquia.