(in the sanctuary! Enter on Walnut Street)
Julius Eastman: That Which Is Fundamental
The first large scale retrospective of composer and performer Julius Eastman (1940 - 1990)
Curated by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Dustin Hurt; Presented in conjunction with the Eastman Estate and in collaboration with Slought and The Rotunda
Concerts: May 5, 12, 19, and 26 at The Rotunda (in the sanctuary! Enter on Walnut Street)
Exhibition: May 4 to 28 at Slought
PHILADELPHIA — Bowerbird is pleased to announce "Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental", an interdisciplinary, multi-artist project that examines the life, work, and resurgent influence of Julius Eastman. Eastman (1940-1990) was a gay African American composer and performer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died homeless at the age of 49, leaving an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings.
The culmination of more than three years of research, this project include four major concerts - including the modern premieres of several work previously thought lost (and performance by Moor Mother, Blood Orange's Devonté Hynes, Arcana New Music Ensemble, bass baritone Davone Tines, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble), and a multi-disciplinary exhibition featuring archival materials and work by ten contemporary artist (Carolyn Lazard, Beau Rhee, James Maurelle, Sondra Perry, Wayson Jones, Ash Arder, Jonathan Gardenhire, Courtney Bryan, Texas Isaiah, and Yulan Grant) that engage with Eastman and the fragmented nature of his legacy.
Eastman studied at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music from 1960 to 1964 before joining a prestigious new music group called the Creative Associates in Buffalo, NY alongside composers Petr Kotik, Gwendolyn Sims, Morton Feldman, James Fulkerson, and Jan Williams. During his highly productive years in Buffalo, he composed Thruway; a ballet score, The Moon’s Silent Modulation; Macle; Trumpet; Colors; and Stay On It; among other pieces. In the summer of 1976, Eastman moved to New York City where he became part of the “downtown” New York music scene. During this period he performed with Arthur Russell, Meredith Monk, Peter Zummo, and others in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Brooklyn Academy of Music to downtown lofts and disco clubs. From 1976 until his death in 1990, Eastman’s “model of musicianship,” as music historian Ryan Dohoney terms it, “expanded to include free Jazz, improvisation, new wave rock, disco, as well as his own composed music that is marked by intense repetition and political aggressiveness.” This “political aggressiveness” is evident in the series of multi-piano pieces that Eastman wrote with provocative titles such as Crazy Nigger, Evil Nigger, and Gay Guerrilla. Following a series of personal struggles and misfortunes such as eviction from his apartment for non-payment of rent and the confiscation of his possessions including his musical scores, Eastman returned to Buffalo, where he died in 1990 at age 49.
That Which Is Fundamental is the first comprehensive examination of Eastman's legacy to work alongside the Eastman Estate, an organization led by Gerry Eastman to gather together, organize, preserve, disseminate, and generally further the work of his brother, Julius.
Julius Eastman's music can be online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxtLoItArrc
Friday, May 5th, 2017 - 8pm
Stay on It + Feminine + In Memory of Julius
Arcana New Music Ensemble with Christopher McIntyre, Gerry Eastman
More info: https://www.thatwhichisfundamental.com/may-5th-stay-on-it-femenine
Friday, May 12th, 2017 - 8pm
Macle + Thruway + Buddha + New Work by Moor Mother
Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, Arcana New Music Ensemble, Eastman Community Choir, Moor Mother
More info: https://www.thatwhichisfundamental.com/may-12th-macle-thruway-buddha
Friday, May 19th, 2017 - 8pm
Crazy + Evil + Gay Guerilla
Joseph Kubera, Dynasty Battles, Michelle Cann, Adam Tendler, Sonora Guitar Ensemble
More info: https://www.thatwhichisfundamental.com/may-19th-crazy-evil-gay
Friday, May 26th 2017 - 8pm
Prelude to Joan d’Arc + the Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc + New Work by Devonté Hynes
Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange), Davóne Tines, Bowerbird Cello Ensemble with Stanford Thompson
More info: https://www.thatwhichisfundamental.com/may-26th-joan-of-arc
All concerts will be in the Sanctuary of The Rotunda at 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Tickets to each concert are $12 - $25. Reservations are not required. More information and tickets: https://www.thatwhichisfundamental.com/concerts-overview/
Predicated. + A Recollection.
May 4th - 28th, 2017
featuring works by Carolyn Lazard, Beau Rhee, James Maurelle, Sondra Perry, Wayson Jones, Ash Arder, Jonathan Gardenhire, Courtney Bryan, Texas Isaiah, and Yulan Grant
A Recollection. and Predicated. is an exhibition in two parts that feature archival traces and work by ten contemporary artists that engages with Eastman and the fragmented nature of his legacy. A Recollection. approaches a historical exploration and remembrance of Julius Eastman as a master of artifice, while Predicated., an exhibition in conversation with the work of Julius Eastman, explores notions of absence, trace presence, duration, the politics of exhaustion, as well as the interplay between composition and improvisation through video, sculpture, and photography.
Slought Foundation Gallery Hours:
4017 Walnut Street, Tues - Thur: 12-5 PM, Fri: 12-8 PM, Sat: 12-5 PM
Philadelphia, PA 19104 Admission: Free
More Information: https://www.thatwhichisfundamental.com/exhibition/
If you're not familiar with the Eastman's story- it's pretty powerful - you might want to read a few recent articles:
Major support for THAT WHICH IS FUNDAMENTAL has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Presser Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Situated at the forefront of artistic experimentation, Bowerbird is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that presents music and interdisciplinary events by local and internationally recognized artists at a variety of venues across the region. The mission of Bowerbird is to raise the public’s awareness and understanding of provocative and divergent music traditions by providing numerous and diverse opportunities to directly experience the work of today’s leading artists. For more information, visit bowerbird.org.