“The Constancy of Instruments: David Tudor’s Fontana Mix, 1967″ | April 14 | Alternative Histories of Electronic Music, Science Museum, London


You Nakai is presenting a paper called “The Constancy of Instruments: David Tudor’s Fontana Mix 1967” at the international conference “Alternative Histories of Electronic Music (AHEM)” held from this Thursday to Saturday at the Science Museum in London. The paper articulates the peculiar nature of Tudor’s music through the overlap of instruments and the discrepancy of their configurations between Tudor’s realization of John Cage’s Fontana Mix in 1967 and his own Bandoneon ! from a year before. It’s a three-day conference with many interesting presentations and a nice acronym, so if you are around.

“Late(r) Realizations: Versions, Sound Systems, and Compositions by David Tudor, 1960-1970” + “Inside David Tudor’s Live Electronics” | March 24 | over under around and through the music of David Tudor (Wesleyan University)


You Nakai is part of OVER, UNDER, AROUND, AND THROUGH THE MUSIC OF DAVID TUDOR, a two-day conference on the music of David Tudor at Wesleyan University happening this Friday and Saturday (March 25-26). You will do two things there (mainly): (A) presenting an hour-long talk called “LATE(R) REALIZATIONS: VERSIONS, SOUND SYSTEMS, AND COMPOSITIONS (1960-1970)” which examines the complex entanglement between Tudor’s realizations of other composer’s works in the 1960s and the composition of his own, and attempts to articulate the nature of Tudor’s “composition” via his oddly late realization about becoming a composer, and (B) co-organizing the session “INSIDE TUDOR’S LIVE ELECTRONICS” with Michael Johnsen and Matt Rogalsky, which examines Tudor’s extant electronic instruments now archived at Wesleyan. Both presentations will happen on the first day, March 25th, starting from 1:30pm. Other presenters include John Holzaepfel, Julie Martin (EAT), Composers Inside Electronics (John Driscoll, Phil Edelstein, Ralph Jones), Tom Erbe, Gustavo Matamoros, Mats Lindstrom, and Ron Kuivila among others. There will also be concerts in the evening, so if you happen to be in Connecticut or nearby.

House Music | June 12 | CARPA4, Helsinki


No Collective is presenting HOUSE MUSIC, in collaboration with Lindsey Drury and Johanna Gilje, at the fourth Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts (On “The Non-Human and the Inhuman in Performing -Arts-Bodies, Organisms and Objects in Conflict”) held at the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts, in Helsinki. The performance will start at 11:15AM, and last about an hour. This will be the second performance of the piece we presented last year in Berlin, and we’re also expected to say something smart-ish about the piece before or after or during the piece. So if you are anywhere near it would be great to see you there.

House Music
by No Collective and Lindsey Drury
June 12, 2015, 11:15-12:15
Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts, Helsinki
[Part of Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts 4]
Performed by Johanna Gilje, Lindsey Drury, Kay Festa, and You Nakai

“The Natures of Technology: David Tudor’s Conception of an Island as a Musical Instrument” | December 7 | Conference of Interdisciplinary Musicology 14 (Berlin)


You Nakai is going to present another paper called “The Natures of Technology: David Tudor’s Conception of an Island as a Musical Instrument” at the Conference of Interdisciplinary Musicology in Berlin, this coming Thursday, December 4. The abstract goes like this:

In 1970, David Tudor, who had recently made a transition from the most prominent pianist of post-war avant-garde to a composer of electronic music, conceived and constructed a “musical instrument” out of an entire pavilion at the Osaka Expo. His vision entailed a radical shift in scale between the human and the instrument: the performer, along with the audience, was now placed inside the instrument. Immediately after the Pepsi Pavilion, Tudor began searching for the location of his next project, which would further extend his idea of “giant instruments” out of man- made architecture into the expanse of natural landscape: a desert island. Collaborating with engineer Billy Klüver from E.A.T., sculptor Fujiko Nakaya, and visual artist Jackie Monnier, Tudor worked extensively on the Island Eye Island Ear project over the next decade. The size of the island was precisely dictated by what he considered as “the maximum scale for feedback to occur.” The landscape also had specific requirements, as Tudor planned to use parabolic antenna loudspeakers to create sound beams in various spots of the island. The group shared a seemingly paradoxical objective for the project: to reveal the nature of the island through technology. Based on interviews with Tudor’s collaborators and documentation of the project found among the David Tudor Papers at the Getty Research Institute, this paper offers a comprehensive view on the trajectory of the ambitious project to make, quite possibly, the largest musical instrument in the world. Tudor’s idiosyncratic vision in which the relationship between technology and nature blended with the natures of technology, is discussed, along with how the very distinctiveness of this approach led to the eventual abandonment of the endeavor.

“Inside-out: David Tudor’s Conception of the Pepsi Pavilion as a Musical Instrument” | November 7 | American Musicological Society Annual Meeting (Milwaukee, WI)


You is going to present a paper called “Inside-out: David Tudor’s Conception of the Pepsi Pavilion as a Musical Instrument” at the American Musicological Society’s annual meeting in Milwaukee this coming Friday, November 7.

The abstract goes something like this:

In 1970, David Tudor made a musical instrument. This instrument was 120 feet in diameter and stood inside the World Expo site in Osaka, Japan. It was funded by the Pepsi-Cola Corporation and built under the auspices of ‘Experiments in Art and Technology.’ Every account on the Pepsi Pavilion attests that Tudor had been assigned to design a sound system, and ended up making an ‘instrument’ out of the whole edifice. But the strange implications of turning an entire pavilion into a musical instrument have been left unquestioned in previous scholarship. This paper investigates the radical nature of Tudor’s endeavor based on extensive research of his archive at the Getty Research Institute, examination of a prototype modifier made by Gordon Mumma for the Pavilion, and analysis of four Pepsi pieces that Tudor created for his instrument. The composer’s claim, taken at face value, reveals an image of ‘instrument’ that is more counterintuitive than the conventional use of the term in electronic music to address electronic components. For if the pavilion is itself an instrument, then the instrument is larger than the human performer. Tudor’s conception thus places the performers, along with the audience, ‘inside’ the instrument. This idiosyncratic perspective allows us to grasp the entirety of Tudor’s seemingly disparate trajectory—extending from his early career as a prodigious organ player to the most prominent pianist of post-war experimental music, and further becoming one of the founding figures of electronic music—from a surprisingly coherent angle. It will also yield a fundamental insight into the topological metaphor of ‘inside’ that this otherwise reticent composer used from time to time to portray his works.

“More than Meets the Ear: An Account on the Shared Ac(counts) of Cage and Stravinsky” | April 23 | Performatica Festival


Following the performance of Vesna’s Fall, Kay Festa is ‘performing’ (with a little help from her friends) a paper entitled “More than Meets the Ear: An Account on the Shared Ac(counts) of Cage and Stravinsky,” which brings together some of the findings and insights that were accumulated during the production of Vesna’s Fall. The presentation will take place at the ‘Agora’ building inside Universidad de las Americas, from 3:15pm on April 23. The abstract of the paper is as follows:


More than Meets the Ear: An Account on the Shared Ac(counts) of Cage and Stravinsky

Kay Festa

John Cage has recounted his decision to study with Schoenberg as a choice won over Stravinsky: “Schoenberg was approaching sixty when I became one of his students in 1933. At the time what one did was to choose between Stravinsky and Schoenberg.“ The consequence of that choice, as well as the mutual indifference between Cage and Stravinsky is well known. But there is more than meets the eye, or the ear. As recent studies have shown, Stravinsky used a systematic methodology to generate the complex rhythmic structure of Le Sacre du printemps, and it was this structure underlying the distribution of rhythms that Nijinsky based his choreography upon. Thus, when the noisy audience reaction reached the height of masking the music at the premiere of Le Sacre in 1913, Nijinsky could shout out the counts from the wings to convey the necessary structure to his dancers who could no longer hear the orchestra. In this way, the relationship between dance and music in Le Sacre proves to be an important precursor for the collaboration between Cage and Cunningham. By further extending this comparison to Stravinsky’s ‘block form’ and Cage’s ‘gamut technique,’ this paper analyzes the two composers’ similar focus on mechanical procedures to create empty structures which were then used to accommodate diverse ‘blocks’ of sound and rhythm. This approach is seen as rooted in a kindred modernist interest for a super-sensorial platform upon which individual sensorial materials can be positioned and maneuvered—a proximity mediated by music’s strong connection to dance, which was never shared by Cage’s teacher Schoenberg.

Vesna’s Fall | February 3 | Judson Memorial Church (Movement Research at Judson Church)

No Collective’s will premiere ‘Vesna’s Fall,’ a peculiar dance piece created in collaboration with choreographer Lindsey Drury, at Judson Memorial Church. Dancers are Laura Bartczak, Paige Fredlund, Kaia Gilje, Katelyn Hales, Molly Schaffner. In April we are touring the piece to Black Mountain College in North Carolina and to Performatica in Puebla, Mexico.
Reapers in fall must first calibrate and celebrate their spring. In 1972, Vesna Vulovic fell from the height of 33,330 ft in an exploding airplane onto a frozen mountain side and lived to tell the story. This (mis)fortune, registered as the highest free fall a human being has survived, was brought by a nominal coincidence: Vesna was not scheduled to be on the flight, but had been mixed up with another flight attendant of the same name. Every Vesna shares her name with the springtime goddesses of Slavic mythology who lived in palaces atop mountains enwrapped in magic circles where they discussed the fate of crops and of human beings. Objects and humans fall because of gravity’s pull. Free falling enclosed rooms, however, will preclude the local observer inside it from differentiating between gravitational pull and floating in non-gravity. Singing and springing Vesnas, descending down each February from their palaces to the valley, could only be heard by certain people. Perception is absolutely local (like death). Rituals, names, or numbers may serve to secure the recurrence of common universal units–seasons and whatnot. In return they must obliterate particularities and forget the fact that they did so. No spring is devoid of sacrifices and the sacrificed must not survive (or return as ghosts). Gravity of numbers is only put to an end by the number of gravities.

“Inside Pepscillator: David Tudor’s Conception of the Pepsi Pavilion as a Musical Instrument” | September 21 | The Exploratorium, San Francisco


You Nakai will present his paper “Inside Pepscillator: David Tudor’s Conception of the Pepsi Pavilion as a Musical Instrument,” as well as co-perform Tudor’s “Microphone” (with Wilm Thoben), at the conference ”Interspatial: E.A.T., Cybernetic Serendipity, and the Future of Creative Collaboration” held at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, on September 21. You will also assist the Japanese artist Kenjiro Okazaki‘s lecture on E.A.T.’s Pepsi Pavilion and the Osaka Expo 1970.