Interview with Merce Cunningham: Adelaide Festival of Arts, 1976-03

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Interview with Merce Cunningham: Adelaide Festival of Arts, 1976-03
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)
Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)
McLennan, Andrew (Interviewer)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Author)
Adelaide Festival (Adelaide, S.A) (Host)

Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1976-03
Library locations
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
Shelf locator: *LT-7-A 2356
Cage, John
Cunningham, Merce
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Summerspace (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Winterbranch (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Dance -- Production and direction
Interviews (Sound recordings)
Content: Title, date and location provided by cataloger based on audition and typed note on original container.
Content: Typed note on printed Australian Broadcasting Commission label on original container: "Merce Cunningham Interview: 1976 Adelaide Festival of Arts ; interviewed by Andrew McLennan ; begins: I studied ; ends: with people moving around".
Content: Interview with Merce Cunningham conducted by Andrew McLennan in 1976 for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Related interviews, appeared on the Australian television program, This day tonight, can be found at the Library for the Performing Arts in *MGZIDVD 5-558. The recordings occurred during a week of performances by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Sydney Opera House.
Venue: Recorded at the [Sydney Opera House] in, Sydney, Australia, 1976 [March].
Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical Description
Audiotape reel
Extent: 1 audiotape reel (20 minutes) : analog, full track, mono ; 7 in.
Sound quality is uneven. At times, Merce Cunningham's voice is at a low volume level and he chews food during the middle of the recording session. In addition, there are occasional loud background noises and voices.
Merce Cunningham speaks with Andrew McLennan to give a brief overview of his early training, especially his relationship to Martha Graham and her technique [background speaker noise until 0:30]; his early works with John Cage and their idea of separating the choreography from the music; the financial reasons for his early solos; briefly, the early years of his [Merce Cunningham Dance] Company, its small size and touring in a Volkswagon bus; more on the development of his early choreography, especially in relation to his teaching; his ideas on the purpose of dance technique; briefly, generations of dancers in his company; his perspective on being a dancer; his opinion of the qualities of a great dancer especially in relation to technique; [9:56-11:45, background whirring sound]; briefly, the influence of John Cage on his artistic practices; his intentions behind the movement sequencing in his choreography and Cunningham emphasizes the ways that his work differs from improvisation; his approach to working with composers and how this affects the choreography; [14:59-15:26, loud background sounds nearly obscure Cunningham's voice]; scenery and his choreography, including the Summerspace drop by Robert Rauschenberg; his interest in the layering of distinct artistic production elements; Cunningham lists some of the narrative ways audiences interpreted Winterbranch; his original intention behind the movements in Winterbranch: to explore what a person does when they are falling; more on human balance and falling.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 880675234
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20211249
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): b88bfa90-b3fa-0133-de43-3c07547a230f
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

  • 1976: Created
  • 2019: Found by you!
  • 2020

MLA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1976.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 24, 2019.

APA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. (1976). Interview with Merce Cunningham Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Merce Cunningham, (1976) }} |author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=May 24, 2019 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lennox, and Tilden Foundation}}</ref>

Interview with Merce Cunningham