Alvin Curran Fakebook
The alvin curran fakebook is an anthology of more than 200 compositions, musical fragments, and instruction pieces by a well-known experimental contemporary composer. It is intended as a resource and a source of joy for adventurous musicians - composers, performers, improvisers, sound artists - as well as for scholars, teachers, fans, bloggers, buskers, art book lovers, and terminal avant-garde-ists. Richly illustrated with photos, drawings, and drafts of scores, peppered with Curran's punchy writings, the volume is a sounding autobiography, a compendium of 50 years of the thought and practice of a maverick composer in the Western classical lineage. The content is very varied and allows for a broad and personal approach to use by musicians. Sheet music formats range from conventional Western scoring in equal temperament to jazz Fake Book notation (chord symbols, etc.), verbal instructions, and graphic notation. Possibilities of layering, remixing, instrumentation, improvisation, spatialization, and staging are limited only by the user's imagination.
Alvin Curran (alvincurran.com) has realized a long and fruitful career as a composer, performer, installation artist, writer, and teacher in the American experimental music tradition. Born in Providence in 1938, he studied with Ron Nelson, Elliott Carter and Mel Powell, and co-founded the group Musica Elettronica Viva in 1966 in Rome where he currently resides. His music, whether orchestral, electronic, radio-art, large-scale environmental theater or solo performance, embraces all sounds, all spaces, and all people. Curran's most-performed chamber works include FOR CORNELIUS and the INNER CITIES cycle for piano; the piano-violin-percussion trio SCHTYX; the string quartet VSTO; the saxophone quartet ELECTRIC RAGS II; the percussion quartet THEME PARK; and ROSE OF BEANS for ensemble. He is famous for solo improvisations featuring natural sounds, voice, and found objects, from the 1970s (SONGS AND VIEWS FROM THE MAGNETIC GARDEN, CANTI ILLUMINATI...) to the present (ENDANGERED SPECIES, ON HEARING THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE SING IN YIDDISH...); large scale musical choreographic works such as OH BRASS ON THE GRASS ALAS for 300 amateur brass-band musicians and MARITIME RITES concert events performed on and around bodies of water all over the world; radio pieces such as CRYSTAL PSALMS; installations such as NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND and GARDENING WITH JOHN; and collaborations with artists from John Cage to Joan Jonas to Trisha Brown to the Freyer-Ensemble to The Living Theatre. He has taught at Rome's National Academy of Theater Arts, Mills College, and the Mainz Hochschule fuer Musik, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and Harvard's Elson Lecturership. He has published numerous articles on music, on his own music, and on other artists, as well as more than 30 solo and 60 collaborative recordings. A book about his work, Alvin Curran: Live in Roma, was edited by Daniela Tortora and published by Die Schachtel.