Tribute to Robert Ashley (1930-2014)


One of the most original composers of the late 20th century, Robert Ashley is best known for reinventing opera for an electronic age.

A tribute
Thursday, September 11, 2014 @ 8pm
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave (corner of Atlantic and 3rd Ave), Brooklyn
New York

In the early 1960s, Ashley organized the Once Festival in Ann Arbor Michigan. In the late 1960s, he co-founded the Sonic Arts Union and travelled with Alvin Lucier, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma. In the 1970s, he directed the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music. He was commissioned in the early 1980s by The Kitchen to compose Perfect Lives, an opera for television that is widely considered the precursor of music-television. Many operas followed, among them Atalanta (Acts of God), eL/Aficionado and Now Eleanor’s Idea. A new group of operas was begun following Dust, among them Celestial Excursions and The Old Man Lives in Concrete. His final opera, Crash, was completed in December 2013 for the 2014 Whitney Biennial Exhibition.

He created new relationships between words and music, he used electronics and synthesizers, his characters were ordinary people leading ordinary lives, and it all became extraordinary and beautiful as the stories unfolded. His operas traveled the world.

Note these memoirs written by friends
Joan La Barbara
Alvin Lucier
Joel Chadabe

In 1999, the Kanagawa Arts Foundation in Japan commissioned Dust, an opera for four people‐Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert, and Joan La Barbara— and Ashley himself.

dust700Stage site for Dust at The Kitchen in New York


Don't Get Your Hopes Up (excerpt), Jacqueline Humbert

It's Easy (excerpt), Joan La Barbara

No Legs (excerpt), Everyone

In this tribute concert, Roulette TV will present parts of an interview with Robert Ashley and Ashley's longtime friend and collaborator, Thomas Buckner, baritone, will perform some of the many works composed especially for him to sing in a concert setting during the more than thirty years he sang in the operas.

The Program
World War III, Just the Highlights
Atalanta, Acts of God Three excerpts
The Producer Speaks
Mystery of the River (New York premiere)
The Performers
Thomas Buckner (voice)
Tom Hamilton (electronics)
Joseph Kubera (piano/voice)
Pauline Kim Harris, Conrad Harris (voice)
Stephen Gosling, Ines Thiebaut (synthesizers)
Marianne Gythfeldt (clarinet)
JD Parran (bass clarinet)
Tom Verchot (trumpet)
Chris Nappi (timpani)
Petr Kotik (conductor)
General admission $20
Roulette members, students, seniors $15

This event is sponsored by Interpretations and co-sponsored by Roulette and Performing Artservices.