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In Celebration of Julius Eastman.mp4

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“What I am trying to achieve is to be what I am to the fullest: Black to the fullest, a musician to the fullest, a homosexual to the fullest.” Julius Eastman, 1976

In a 1981 press release for Eastman’s performance: “Humanity and Not Spiritual Beings,” the composer wrote, “I could be a dancer, choreographer, painter or any other kind of artist if I so wished; but right thought, speech and action are now my main concerns. No other thing is as important or as useful. Right thought, Right speech, Right action, Right music.”

Julius Eastman, born 1940, was a post-minimalist composer, pianist, and Grammy nominated vocalist. During the 1970s, he worked alongside Morton Feldman, John Cage, Meredith Monk and Peter Maxwell Davies; performed with Pierre Boulez and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. But by the mid 1980s, he had drifted into obscurity and his music with him. He died homeless at the age of 49.

In recent years friends and scholars have begun slowly shedding light on Julius Eastman's music and the blurry details of his final, erratic years. The music he recorded is for the first time released. Musicians are now playing and recording it, too, and choreographers are creating dances.

This short audio compilation, edited from the broadcast, ‘Composer of the Week’ on BBC Radio, presented by Donald Macloud.


Stay On it. 1973. Julius Eastman, composer & director. Georgia Mitoff, voice; Petr Kotik, piano; Benjamin Hudson, violin; Amrom Chodos, clarinet; Joseph Ford, Doug Gaston, saxophones; Dennis Kahle & Jan Williams, percussion.

Piano 2 (2nd movement) 1968. Julius Eastman, composer. Joseph Kubera, piano – from the album, Book of Horizons, 2014

Photographs - with thanks to Google Images. Credit to so many photographers.

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