(originally published 11/2/11)
Here’s a video interview I did with composer Alvin Lucier for ct.com. If you had to boil it down to one statement, Lucier’s career-long focus has been to explore sound-worlds that wouldn’t reach our ears under normal conditions. “My pieces are about exploring sound waves and the natural characteristics of sound waves,” Lucier said, when I sat down with him at his home in Middletown. “And in order to do that in a beautiful way, in my opinion, is to let the waves do what they do normally without a lot of compositional interference.” His training in composition was rather conventional; as a graduate student in the late 1950s, Lucier studied with Arthur Berger, Irving Fine, and Harold Shapero at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., where Neoclassicism was the order of the day, tempered with a dash of serialism. After graduating with an MFA, Lucier headed to Rome on a Fulbright, where he encountered the music of the European avant-garde: Luigi Nono, Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen.