Lecture by the American composer Roger Tréfousse about his teachers John Cage and Ben Weber. Pieces are performed liveand historical recordings can be heard.
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John Cage and Ben Weber: Into the Unknown
I had the great privilege to study piano in New York with Grete Sultan, and when I began to compose music, Sultan introduced me to John Cage and Ben Weber. I studied composition with Cage and Weber, and have thought a great deal about the ways in which their compositional approaches, so very different on the surface, are also very similar-- and directly connected to the work of Arnold Schoenberg.
In my talk, I’ll explore the Schoenberg connection, and the ways in which both used their compositional process as a way to move into the unknown, creating music that pierces the veil and takes us into new realms of beauty, mystical power and delight. As Cage famously said, “I want to create music that I’ve never heard before, ” or Weber, quoting Rilke,
Nur wer die Leier schon hob
auch unter Schatten
darf das unendliche Lob
Only who with the dead has eaten
of the poppy that is theirs,
will never again lose
the most delicate tone.
About Roger Tréfousse
Roger Tréfousse has written three commissioned operas, The Monkey Opera, Found Objects and Blue Margaritas and is completing work on The Composing of the Heliotrope Bouquet. Film scores include the HBO thriller Ladykiller, the PBS documentary Jackson Pollock: Portrait and V.A. Rowland’s 2019 film, Ascending Double Helix, featured at the Roxy Music Festival in New York. In 2018, choreographer Nancy Zendora premiered a new work with music by Tréfousse at Dixon Place and pianist Jan Gerdes gave the European premiere of Music for Grete in Berlin. Recent New York performances include Song of the Wolf for violin and piano at St Marks Church and Synesthesia/Fusion: 3 Painters Portrayed, commissioned by APNM and premiered on their Pierrot Plus Percussion concert. Upcoming performances include a new work commissioned by Composers Concordance Ensemble and an organ concert of his music at St Michaels in Berlin. His article, My Search for Ben Weber was recently published in NewMusicBox and he is currently at work on a biography of Ben Weber.
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