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Richard Maxfield (1927-1969)

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Author Topic: Richard Maxfield (1927-1969)  (Read 123 times)
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« on: January 13, 2018, 12:07:42 am »

Richard Maxfield was a composer of instrumental, electro-acoustic, and electronic music. Born in Seattle, WA he began composing in high school. He later enrolled at Stanford University, but shortly transferred to U.C. Berkeley in 1947 to study with Roger Sessions, whose work he had developed a great admiration for. After graduating in 1951, Maxfield traveled to Europe, where he was introduced to Boulez, Stockhausen, Nono, and crucially electronic tape music for the first time. He composed instrumental scores in a Neo-Classical style, and then adopted 12-tone techniques, eventually studying at Princeton University with Milton Babbitt. Maxfield also studied with Krenek, Copland, Maderna, and Dallapiccola. It was the work of John Cage however, who Maxfield met in 1958, that had the biggest influence on the composer. Maxfield began to adopt Cage's technique of chance operations during composition, sometime selecting strips of tape from a bowl at random to splice together. However, unlike other composers who used chance when composing, Maxfield often later edited works according to his taste. Along with his mentee La Monte Young, Maxfield co-curated early Fluxus concerts in New York, and also presented his works at the Living Theatre, and other New York City loft performances (notably Yoko Ono's loft) beginning in the late 1950s. Outside of composing, Maxfield was significantly involved in music education. New Grove's Dictionary of Music calls him "the first teacher of electronic music techniques in the United States." Maxfield taught at the New School in New York City in 1959 (taking over a class taught by Cage) and later at San Francisco State in 1966 and 1967. Maxfield's life was cut tragically short on June 27, 1969, when the composer, then 42 years old, committed suicide by jumping out of a window at the Figueroa Hotel in Los Angeles.

The best introduction to his music - and a wonderful thing in itself - is this radio interview from 1960:

Piano sonata no. 2 (1948-1949)

"Structures" for wind ensemble (1951)

Symphony for string orchestra (1951), movement I

Variations for string quartet (1954)

Composition for violin and pianoforte (1955)

Sine music (a swarm of butterflies encountered over the ocean) (1958)

Cough music (1959)

Pastoral symphony (1959)

Amazing Grace (1960)

Fermentation (1960)

Night music (1960)

Peripateia (1959-1961)

Dromenon (1961)

Perspectives II for La Monte Young (1961)

Piano concert for David Tudor (1961)

Wind (1961)

Bacchanale (1963)

Electronic symphony (1964)

For Sonny Wilson (~1966)

« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 07:47:23 pm by Tetsugakusha75 » Report Spam   Logged

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