Alvin Curran, born 1938 in Providence (Rhode Island), is a Rome-based American composer and improviser, educated at Brown University and Yale University. After a year spent in Berlin with his teacher Elliott Carter, he settles in December 1964 in the Eternal City where he quickly bonds with other American expats and Ivy League composers - Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum to name a few,- with whom he founds in 1966 the pioneering free improvisation collective Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV), in a revolutionary context. As early as 1971, he creates a poetic series of solo works for synthesizer, voice, taped sounds and found objects, and progressively develops large-scale projects outside the concert hall, in lakes, ports, parks, quarries, etc., whilst working on a regular basis on film and theater productions. In the 1980’s, various commissions from German radios allow him to further explore his idea of musical geography, through radiophonic works. Involved in numerous collaborative projects, he has been working extensively with choreographers (Trisha Brown, Simone Forti…), visual artists (Edith Schloss, Joan Jonas, Melissa Gould…), poets (Clark Coolidge), film directors (Memè Perlini, Susumi Hani, Beni Montresor, Antonioni…) avant-garde theater companies (The Living Theater, …), etc. An avid improviser, Alvin Curran continues at the same time to write pieces for acoustic instruments and electronics, radiophonic works and sound installations.
Maxime Guitton, a regular contributor of *Duuu radio, is currently a fellow at Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome, where he’s leading a research on the composer. Together with Simon Ripoll-Hurier and Myriam Lefkowitz, they visited him in his studio, located a few hundred meters away from the Coliseum. They wanted to know more about his connexion with the radio, the importance of radiophonic works in his own production, how they relate with his activities of field recordist. They asked him to speak in detail about his methods through a specific piece named “Cartoline Romane”, a musique concrete piece commissioned, produced and first broadcast by Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne in 1987. For about 90 minutes, Alvin Curran generously shares some of his fundamental concepts about music making through precise examples and more abstract ideas, which hopefully will help anyone understanding the scope of his work and some of its prominent features.
A radio show proposed by Maxime Guitton with Simon Ripoll-Hurier and Myriam Lefkowitz.