Invitation to “In C”, In June, In St. Johns

May 14th, 2009

At Noon on June 27th, as part of the St. Johns NO.Fest, I will again be curating a performance of “IN C”, Terry Riley’s awesome avant-garde score for any number of musicians.  I first got to play in this piece last February at LIGHTBAR as part of an ensemble of 12 musicians, struggling in the biting cold.  It was fascinating, exciting, difficult, well-received, and left us all longing to do it again, better.

This time around, we’ll be performing in downtown St. Johns, in summer, at midday.  The performance will kick off a day of avant-garde music and arts in St. Johns, and will be simulcast on KBOO FM.  If you’re a musician who can read sheet music and play well with others, I invite you to join our single-serving orchestra!

But what is “IN C”, exactly?  The piece is described by Keith Kawai at thusly:

“In 1964 Riley composed 53 short phrases of music in the key of C — not so much a score as a musical outline. An ensemble of musicians were instructed to go through each of the 53 phrases consecutively, placing their own rhythmic accents. They were also advised to hold and repeat each note/phrase for as long as they wanted, ultimately creating a living, thriving work of improvisation.”

Participants will need to be able to read music, and must commit to practicing the score beforehand.  There will be three practice dates in June — snacks provided — and everyone playing the piece must attend at least one practice.  Don’t worry, it’s fun.  If interested, please contact , or call me at .

Due to its non-hierarchic organization and intentional randomness, In C is never played the same way twice.  Please join us for this once-in-a-lifetime concert.  For a taste of the many shapes this piece can take, search YouTube for “Terry Riley In C.”

I particularly like this one.

UPDATE: here is the score in PDF format for your perousal.  Enjoy!

Leave a Reply