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Music for Merce

February 25, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - February 26, 2017 @ 5:00 pm

$10 - $30

Music for Merce features an all-star cast of former Cunningham collaborators convened by guest curator John King.

Each day presents a unique program of the musicians’ historic and new works, with electronic music, traditional instruments, and vocals performed in different small and large ensembles. For the grand finale each day, all ten composers play a version of a Cunningham Event—each individually devising a unique time-score before performing together as one big sound, revealed for the first time during the performance itself.

Merce Cunningham and John Cage, partners in life and art, defied expectations of how to do things. Their restless explorations not only revolutionized their individual fields, they also changed the relation of music and dance. Instead of choreographing dance to music, they created both elements separately and brought them together at the performance—fundamentally changing the nature of how we experience performance. As Cage wrote in a program note for an early Cunningham performance, this is art that doesn’t “say” something, but rather simply “presents” activity.

Major figures include:

  • Vocalist Joan La Barbara
  • Computer music pioneer David Behrman
  • Multi-instrumentalist and inventor Fast Forward
  • Electronics/ trombonist George Lewis
  • Drummer Ikue Mori
  • Harpist/ multi-instrumentalist Zeena Parkins
  • Singer/ songwriter/ drummer Phil Selway
  • Multi-instrumentalist Quinta
  • Pianist Christian Wolff

Presented in conjunction with Merce Cunningham: Common Time

Running time: 120 minutes


February 25, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
February 26, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
$10 - $30
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The Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 United States
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(312) 280-2660