Interview with Merce Cunningham: conducted by Meredith Monk, 1997-07-04
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)Monk, Meredith (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1997-07-04
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTD-A 897
TopicsCage, JohnCunningham, MerceKosugi, Takehisa, 1938-Merce Cunningham Dance CompanyDream (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Event (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Ocean (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Root of an unfocus (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Septet (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Sixteen dances for soloist and company of three (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Winterbranch (Choreographic work : Cunningham)ChoreographyDance -- Production and direction
NotesContent: Title and date provided by cataloger based on handwritten note on original DAT and audition.Content: Handwritten note on original DAT container: "Interview - Meredith Monk of Merce Cunningham ; 7-4-97".Numbering: Donor's inventory number: D381.Venue: Recording location is unidentified; however, the background sounds indicate that it was likely recorded in a dance studio.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audiocassette (DAT) (54 min.) : digital, .3209 ips, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, two track, stereoSound quality is good; there are occasional distant background sounds of drums and voices.
DescriptionBegins abruptly; Merce Cunningham speaks with Meredith Monk about selecting artistic collaborators; creative inspiration for Winterbranch (1964); Monk and Cunningham speak about selecting dancers, including the qualities they look for such as a balance between precision and freedom in movement; Cunningham speaks about planning his BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Art] season [October 14-19, 1997], including the construction of the Events to be performed; certain challenges of teaching past works to new generations of his [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company; how watching movies and working with dance for camera has influenced his choreography; drawing; choreographing with the computer program, Life Forms; Cunningham recollects an instance of stage fright as a young child; short anecdotes on his tap dance training with Mrs. [Maude] Barrett, and doing exhibition ballroom dancing with her daughter, Marjorie; briefly, speaking to his father about his wish to be a performer; attending Cornish School of the Arts and the influential people he met there including John Cage; Monk describes a prepared piano work by John Cage that accompanies Cunningham's Dream (1948); Cunningham tells an anecdote about Septet (1953), in which he recalls the way David Tudor and John Cage played the accompaniment; briefly speaks about working with Takehisa Kosugi as the current Company's Musical Director; Monk describes her experience as a musician for Cunningham's Events; in response to Monk's question on his "typical day," Cunningham tells a few short anecdotes on getting up, then describes briefly his morning routine and his daily routine at the dance studio; Cunningham speaks about passing his work on to the next generations and briefly, the reconstruction of his works, including that of Sounddance (1975); Monk describes her experience of watching Sounddance; Cunningham's reasoning for not using improvisation in his works; his choreographic use of re-ordering set movement phrases from performance to performance; briefly, his solo, Root of an unfocus (1944), and its exploration of fear and risk; they briefly discuss Cage's exploration of the "Nine Indian emotions," and Cunningham's related work, Sixteen dances for soloist and company of three (1951); the choreographic process for Ocean (1994); Cunningham speaks about his interest in how present day children are taught with the use of layered images, while his generation was taught with words; Monk and Cunningham briefly discuss the speed of visual stimulation in society, including impacts on both the human nervous system and the perspectives of audiences; closing remarks; Cunningham speaks about his house plants and they briefly discuss the relationship between creativity and gardening.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 897373807NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20490343Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 179cde40-b7f1-0133-7765-3c07547a230f
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