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Interview with Chris Komar: on the Sound of dance (Radio program), WNCN, 1980-02-26

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Interview with Chris Komar: on the Sound of dance (Radio program), WNCN, 1980-02-26
Additional title: Dromenon (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Additional title: Sound of dance (Radio program)
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)
Komar, Chris (Interviewee)
Cage, John (Composer)
Grierson, Ralph, 1942- (Instrumentalist)
Gruen, John (Host)
Tilson Thomas, Michael, 1944- (Instrumentalist)
WNCN (Radio station : New York, N.Y.) (Broadcaster)

Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1980-02-26
Library locations
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
Shelf locator: *LTC-A 1463
Komar, Chris
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Dromenon (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Duets (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Locale (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Roadrunners (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Modern dance -- Technique
Music and dance
Modern dance music
Prepared piano music (Prepared pianos (2))
Content: Host John Gruen interviews Chris Komar for broadcast on February 26, 1980, by radio station WNCN FM, New York, on its series the Sound of dance.
Content: Title, date and location provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten and typed notes on original cassette and container.
Content: Handwritten note on original cassette: "The Sound of Dance #307 ; John Gruen with Chris Komar ; Stereo - B Dolby ; WNCN, NY". Typed note on original container: "Chris Komar on WNCN, NY - The Sound of Dance ; 26 Feb 1980".
Performers: Michael Tilson Thomas and Ralph Grierson, pianists.
Venue: Broadcast on WNCN radio station, New York, New York, 1980 February 26.
Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical Description
Extent: 1 audiocassette (59 minutes) : analog
Sound quality is mostly good.
Streaming file 1, side a: Host John Gruen speaks about Merce Cunningham and introduces [Merce Cunningham Dance Company] dancer Chris Komar; Chris Komar speaks about the independence of the music and dance in Cunningham's works and how this creates a challenge to the focus of the audience; Gruen and Komar speak about Cunningham's interest in movement for its own sake; they continue to speak about the independence of elements in Cunningham's works and Komar describes Andy Warhol's pillows for Cunningham's RainForest (1968); Komar speaks about how the rhythms and movements in Cunningham's works can be seen more clearly because of the separation of dance and sound; how rehearsals are conducted in silence and why there is piano musical accompaniment to classes at the Cunningham Studio; they speak about how Cunningham's works are expressive through movement and rhythm; Komar speaks about the individual approaches of the Company dancers and the surprise elements built into Cunningham's works; changes in Cunningham's approach to choreography during the 8 years of Komar's tenure, for example Cunningham's earlier use of timing as compared to his later reliance on spatial patterning in Torse (1976); Gruen speaks about Cunningham's use of the I-Ching [Yi jing] for chance operations; Komar speaks about chance as a choreographic device for Cunningham to find new ideas; they speak about the challenge of transitions in Cunningham's choreography; Komar speaks about the multi-directional nature of Cunningham's works and how each dancer is "their own center"; the choreography of Dromenon (1947) as it relates to John Cage's music, Three dances (1944-45); [third part of Three dances, ca. 25:46-34:43]; Komar speaks about how Three dances is not representative of the type of music the Company currently uses, however it still represents the element of the unexpected in Cunningham's works; the experience of watching Cunningham's dances as a whole. Streaming file 2, side b: Host John Gruen announces the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performances at City Center, February 19 - March 2, 1980, including the American premiere performances of Locale, Roadrunners, and Duets; Chris Komar briefly describes Locale, Roadrunners, and Duets; they speak about recent touring of the [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company; Komar speaks about his background in music and lists other Company dancers who were once musicians; his more serious interest in dance after seeing a Cunningham performance; how the Cunningham technique classes further interested him as well as how reading Cunningham's Notes on choreography inspired him; teaching the Cunningham technique, especially its untraditional counting; what a potential new audience member might experience and expect in seeing the Cunningham Company; Gruen speaks about some of Cunningham's movement influences; Komar speaks briefly about Cunningham's solo in Rune (1959), especially how Cunningham "describes" space; more about how Cunningham addresses space and time in his works and how this is similar to the way musicians who work with Cunningham also deal with space and time in their compositions; Gruen concludes the show.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 932895038
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20861315
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 2cedb5e0-b949-0133-0e4c-3c07547a230f
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 1980: Created
  • 2021: Found by you!
  • 2022

MLA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Chris Komar" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1980.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Chris Komar" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 21, 2021.

APA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. (1980). Interview with Chris Komar Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Chris Komar, (1980)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=June 21, 2021 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Chris Komar