Interview with Jean Erdman, 1983-06-08
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Erdman, Jean (Interviewee)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1983-06-08
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1443
TopicsCage, JohnCage, John -- Forever and sunsmellCage, John -- no. 5
Imaginary landscapeno. 5no. 5Cage, XeniaCampbell, Joseph, 1904-1987Cunningham, MerceErdman, JeanJoyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Finnegans wakeMartha Graham Dance CompanyAd lib (Choreographic work : Cunningham and Erdman)Creature on a journey (Choreographic work : Erdman)Credo in us (Choreographic work : Cunningham and Erdman)Forever and sunsmell (Choreographic work : Erdman)Ophelia (Choreographic work : Erdman)Portrait of a lady (Choreographic work : Erdman)Seeds of brightness (Choreographic work : Cunningham and Erdman)Transformations of Medusa (Choreographic work : Erdman)ChoreographyImprovisation in danceMusic and dance
NotesContent: David Vaughan interviews Jean Erdman in her apartment in New York, New York, on June 8, 1983. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).Content: Title and date provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten note on original container and cassette.Content: Handwritten note on original container and cassette: "1: David Vaughan: Interview with Jean Erdman ; 8 June 1983 ; New York".Venue: Recorded in, New York, New York, 1983 June 8.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audiocassette (49 minutes) : analogSound quality is good; there are some distant background sounds.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, side 1: Begins abruptly; Jean Erdman speaks with David Vaughan about Credo in us (1942), the duet she created with Merce Cunningham; performing Credo in us at Bennington College, in New York, and at the Arts Club of Chicago; they speak about the change of title for Cunningham's Renaissance testimonials (1942); they speak about the photographs taken for the Bennington Concert and the costume design drawings for Credo in us by Charlotte Trowbridge; Erdman describes a lift in Credo in us; briefly, more on their shared concerts including the opening dance, Seeds of brightness (1942), and their improvised piece, Ad lib (1942); [brief phone interruption]; Erdman continues to speak about the choreographic structure for Ad lib that was based on jazz music and improvisation; more on the music and rehearsals for Ad lib; Erdman speaks about the concert at the Arts Club of Chicago including her solo works, Transformations of Medusa (1942), Forever and sunsmell (1943) with a score by John Cage, and Creature on a journey (1945) with a score by Lou Harrison; [brief phone interruption]; Erdman speaks about Cage writing the music for Credo in us while staying at her apartment; more on Credo in us, including the relationship between the choreography and Cage's composition, and the underlying narrative; Vaughan relates the Credo narrative with Cunningham's Four walls (1944) and speaks about how Cunningham titles his works by referencing [James] Joyce; Erdman speaks about how Xenia [Cage] knew her husband Joe [Joseph Campbell] prior to all of them living in New York; Erdman briefly speaks about Cage teaching composition classes at her dance studio; Erdman tells an anecdote about the music during a performance of a series of five "Serenades" directed by Cunningham at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943; she speaks about the encouragement from Cage and Campbell to do a concert with Cunningham outside of [Martha] Graham's [Dance] Company; her enjoyment of dancing with Cunningham and his physical energy; Erdman speaks briefly about Cunningham joining the Graham Company; she speaks about Graham's choreographic process, including changes over time that allowed for dancers to add their own input of movements; she speaks about meeting Graham as a student at Sarah Lawrence College; ends abruptly.Streaming file 2, side 2: Begins abruptly; Jean Erdman continues to speak with David Vaughan briefly about the dance classes and styles she was exposed to while growing up in Hawaii; she speaks about Erik Hawkins teaching the first ballet classes at the Martha Graham [Dance] studio; she speaks about how John Cage persuaded Merce Cunningham to not join a ballet company; briefly on the friendships and artistic conversations between herself, Joseph Campbell, the Cage's and Cunningham; she speaks about Campbell's interest in Finnegans Wake; [brief recording break]; they speak about how Campbell's interest in James Joyce's writings may have been influential on Cunningham; she speaks about the opera idea that Cage suggested to Campbell, but never completed, that marked the end of Cage's era of "expressive music" into exploring "chance"; Erdman speaks about commissioning music from Cage for her dances, including her Ophelia (1946); she speaks about introducing David Tudor to Cage; the jazz based inspiration for her Portrait of a lady (1952) and Cage's creation of an eight-track electronic piece using her jazz records, Imaginary landscape [no. 5] (1952); she tells an anecdote about a performance of Portrait of a lady at Hunter College; briefly, a current reconstruction of Portrait of a lady; Erdman speaks about working with Cage to create prepared piano music for her Daughters of a lonesome isle (1945), and the chant and percussion music for her Forever and sunsmell (1943); they speak about the score for Cunningham's Seasons (1947); ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 913959541NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20732861Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 6887b530-b8f7-0133-8f36-60f81dd2b63c
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