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alvin lucier

alvin lucier a trailblazing force in electro-acoustic music, avant-garde composer and performer alvin lucier was born in nashua, new hampshire in 1931; educated at yale and brandeis, he also spent two years in rome on a fulbright scholarship before returning to brandeis in 1962 to teach and conduct the university’s chamber chorus. his breakthrough composition, music for solo performer (1964 - 1965) for enormously amplified brain waves and percussion, was the first work to feature sounds generated by brain waves in live performance. with this piece he also discovered the physicality of sound and acoustical phenomena have been the main subject of his work since.  as in 1970s landmark i am sitting in a room, in which recorded speech was played back into a room and re-recorded there dozens of times, the space - the natural resonances of the space - gradually filtering the speech into pure sound. 1977’s music on a long thin wire was a further extension of lucier’s fascination with the physics of sound -- a piece featuring a very long wire passed through the poles of a large magnet and driven by an amplified oscillator, the amplified vibrations yield beautiful acoustical phenomena. a professor at wesleyan university from 1970 onward, lucier’s later works additionally included a number of sound installations as well as works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra.

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