Earle Brown visited Miami in 1998 to conduct the New World Symphony in a Subtropics 10 performance of 'Sign Sounds', one of his "open form" compositions in which the sound-content is written and controlled in "proportional notation". The Festival also organized the performance of 'December 1952' included on the 'Breath' cd as part of the annual Subtropics Marathon concert. Earle Brown conducted members of the Festival's ensemble and guest artists from Tampa's BONK Festival -namely, bassist Luis Gomez-Imbert, keyboardist Drew Krause, flutist Lisa LaCross, David Rogers on accordion and Margaret Lancaster on flute. The ensemble was augmented by students from Florida International University's New Music Ensemble. The 1998 Marathon took place at Gallery Douyon in Coral Gables.
Earle Brown writes:
" 'December 1952' was written for one or more instruments and/or sound-producing media. The following note appears on a notebook page dated Oct. & Nov. '52, but they are the basis of the composition 'December 1952' as well as being particularly relevant to 'Four Systems': "...to have elements exist in space...space as an infinitude of directions from an infinitude of points in space...to work (compositionally and in performance) to right, left, back, forward, up, down, and all points between...the score [being] a picture of this space at one instant, which must always be considered as unreal and/or transitory...a performer must set this all in motion (time), which is to say, realize that it is in motion and step into it...either sit and let it move or move through it at all speeds...[coefficient of] intensity and duration [is] space forward and back."
Earle Brown has been a major force in contemporary music since the early 1950s. His work at that time with new notations, scoring methods, and performance attitudes led to his development of graphic, improvisational, and "open form" scores such as 'December 1952' (from his collection Folio), 'Twenty-five Pages' (1953) for one to twenty-five pianos, as well as the later orchestral scores 'Available Forms I and II' (1961 and 1962). He has been composer-in-residence at the California Institute of the Arts, the University of California at Berkeley, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Rotterdam Kunstichting, the Basel Conservatory of Music, Yale University, Indiana University, Bloomington, and at the American Academy in Rome (1988). He has received numerous awards such as a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letter Award, the Brandeis Creative Arts Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and commissions from Darmstadt, Paris, Zagreb, London, Rome, Saarbruicken and Venice among others.
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