Alvin Curran Fake Book

@ 8:00pm


$18 General
$12 Students, WF Members

Advance discount tickets available via PayPal until 5PM Thursday, November 17 or in person at the Western Front between Wednesday, September 7 and 5PM Thursday, November 17.
Advance tickets not available via telephone.

Western Front Box Office Hours
Wednesday-Friday, 12 noon-5PM
303 E 8th Ave

The A.C. Fake Book is a lifelong project, now being documented in a Real Book of sketches, compositions, and improvisations … Much as one might be called on to mix up popular Viennese waltzes, Cole Porter, and the Beatles’ hits, this book has a ready-set-go list of anything from drones, sequences, two-note melodies or endless melodies, to favourite chords, complex beat patterns, songs written for theater, music for banjo, chorus, Jew’s harps and ship’s horns.

- Alvin Curran

Pianist, composer, and live electronic music pioneer Alvin Curran performs a rare solo concert on piano and sampler. Irreverent and traditionally experimental, Curran’s catalogue combines sampling, environmental soundscapes, synthesized sound, and live instruments in the service of social, political, and spiritual change and ‘the restoration of dignity to the profession of making non-commercial music.

The Alvin Curran Fake Book reflects on a lifelong mission to democratize sound-making. Curran (b. 1938) grew up immersed in piano lessons and surrounded by marching bands, synagogue chants, and his musician father’s dance bands. A classically trained composer, he also spent his summers playing jazz, pop, and dance music on the Holland America Line and in the Catskills. Co-founder of the legendary, radical electronic ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva and a prolific composer and sound artist, Curran has always kept a working musician’s perspective on the collision between high art and pop culture. “Popular music,” he writes, “decades of it, from Stephen Foster to Snoop Dogg, is the schoolyard, the conservatory from which we all graduated.”

Curran’s music-making embraces all the contradictions (composed/improvised, tonal/atonal, maximal/minimal…) in a serene dialectical encounter. His more than 150 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus. Whether in the intimate form of his well-known solo performances, or pure chamber music, experimental radio works or large-scale site-specific sound environments and installations, all forge a very personal language from all the languages through dedicated research and recombinant invention. As he told THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2007, “Neither my mentor and teacher Elliott Carter nor I could have known that I would go off and write successful string quartets and works for fog horns, 6-hour piano concerts and radio soundscapes of insects and moving air. The sheer openness and wackiness of our times demand constant migration and survivalist invention.”