HPSCHD

hpschd1_700Photo by Shimpei Takeda
 
HPSCHD, by John Cage and Lejaren Hiller was one of the seven great events in 2013.
 
In fact, there were two HPSCHD performances in 2013, and they took place, coincidentally, at the same time in New York and Cleveland.
 
When & where
New York
Friday May 3 from 5pm to 10pm and Saturday May 4, 2013, from 1pm to 6pm
Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, New York

Cleveland
May 3, 2013, three hours in the evening
Cleveland Museum of Art Atrium, Cleveland, Ohio

 
In New York, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center and ISSUE Project Room presented HPSCHD as part of the 2013 Darmstadt Essential Repertoire series. Nick Hallett organized this production. Joel Chadabe was artistic advisor. Bradley Eros assembled a group of film and video artists to create the visual environment. The audience arrived and left at any time during the performance. Refreshments were available.
 
hpschd2_700HPSCHD on May 3, 2013, at Eyebeam in New York
 
hpschd3_700Neely Bruce at the harpsichord
 
hpschd4_700Joseph Kubera at the harpsichord
 
In the following 3-minute sound slip, recorded about half-way through the performance, Joel Chadabe is walking through the space with a field recorder asking people what they think about it.

Public response

  
In Cleveland, the performers were Peter Bennett, Jonathan Moyer, Andrew Rosenblum, Qin Ying Tan, Heejin Kang, Luwen Chen, Li Zuo, Chun Li, Shuai Wang, Frank J. Oteri, James Feddeck, and Stephen Harrison, who shuffled between harpsichords at different times. Tom Welsh, Director of City Stages at the Cleveland Museum, director of the HPSCHD production, said, "The museum has an instrument collection including five harpsichords, so, naturally, I’d always wanted to put on HPSCHD. With the recent completion of the museum’s expansive Atrium (a very large indoor courtyard space), the perfect opportunity finally presented itself."
 
HPSCHDCleveland700HPSCHD on May 3, 2013, in the Cleveland Museum Atrium
 

 
HPSCHD, by John Cage and Lejaren Hiller, first performed in the Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois at Urbana on May 16, 1969, is the wildest, happiest, most exuberant composition of the 20th century. Up to seven amplified harpsichords play solos of computer-generated variations of Mozart and other composers while synthesized trumpets sound the charge for a musical cavalry. The space is a riot of swirling overlapped imagery, most of it abstract shapes and colors, some of it real-world pictures and films. The audience walks through the performance space, between the harpsichord players, around the loudspeakers.
 
That the name HPSCHD was written in upper-case letters (HarPSiCHorD) simply refers to the use of a computer in its composition. It was normal in the 1960s to use upper-case letters in naming a computer file. The title of the composition is, nonetheless, usually pronounced harpsichord.

 
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