Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-12-15/21
NamesMerce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials
Dates / OriginDate Created: 1978-07-07Date Created: 1978-12-13
Library locationsRodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded SoundShelf locator: *LTC-A 1446
TopicsBrown, Carolyn, 1927-Cage, JohnCunningham, MerceDilley, BarbaraDunn, Judith, 1933-1983Farber, ViolaIchiyanagi, Toshi, 1933-Kerr, Catherine, 1948-Mumma, Gordon, 1935-Nancarrow, Conlon, 1912-1997 -- StudiesOliveros, Pauline, 1932-Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008Merce Cunningham Dance CompanyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignCrises (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Cross currents (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Event (Choreographic work : Cunningham)How to pass, kick, fall and run (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Nightwandering (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Open session (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Paired (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Rune (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Story (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Winterbranch (Choreographic work : Cunningham)Arena theaterChoreography
NotesContent: David Vaughan interviews Merce Cunningham in New York, New York, on December 15 and 21, 1978. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).Content: Title and dates provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten and typed notes on original container.Content: Handwritten and typed notes on original original container: "David Vaughan: Interviews with Merce Cunningham ; A. 15 December 1978 ; Merce Cunningham ; Studio, Westbeth, New York ; B. 21 December 1978".Venue: Originally recorded at Merce Cunningham's Westbeth Studio in, New York, New York, 1978 December 15 and 21.Content: Dubbed from an unidentified original.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical DescriptionAudiocassetteExtent: 1 audio cassette (64 minutes) : analogSound quality is fair to mostly good; at times the interviewee is muffled or speaks away from the recording microphone and there are background noises.
DescriptionStreaming file 1, Dec. 15, 1978: Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan about the descriptive names of the movement phrases in his Rune (1959); they speak about the reasons for the infrequency of performances of Rune, including an anecdote about a reaction to Rune from his [Merce Cunningham Dance Company] especially Barbara [Dilley Lloyd]; Cunningham speaks briefly about his extensive choreographic notes on Rune; Cunningham speaks about the chance procedures that determined when dancers were attached to the elastic bands in Crises (1960); John Cage and Gordon Mumma finding the music for Crises, Conlon Nancarrow's Rhythm studies for player piano, at the New York Public Library; they speak about Robert Rauschenberg's costumes for Crises; Cunningham speaks about the qualities of dancers Carolyn Brown and Viola Farber, especially in Rune and Crises; more about the movements and movement qualities of Crises; Cunningham speaks briefly about his choreographic notes for Crises; he speaks about dancer Catherine Kerr's movement quality as being suited to Crises; they speak about the "jagged" quality of Rune; Cunningham speaks about the challenges of creating Rune and Judith Dunn's encouragement of him to complete it; briefly, Dunn's illness; they speak about the cast of Cage's Theater piece (1960), an event at Black Mountain College; Cunningham speaks about choreographing and performing a duet with Brown, Nightwandering (1958), at the opera house in Stockholm, as well as lists the other works performed there; they briefly list the other locations in Europe where Cunningham toured after Stockholm; the 1958-59 residency at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was commissioned to create From the poems of white stone, and, Gambit for dancers and orchestra with music by Ben Johnston; more on From the poems and Gambit, including the costumes and the reasons these works were not performed again; Cunningham speaks about his foot injury while at the University of Illinois; they speak about Cunningham's studio in New York while he was away that winter; they speak about the location stops for the tour in Europe in the summer of 1960; briefly, the solos he choreographed for Brown while in Europe, Hand birds (1960), and, Waka (1960); ends abruptly.
Streaming file 2, Dec. 21, 1978: Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan briefly about his role in the ending section of his Nocturnes (1956); they speak about possible music he used in the dances he made for Paul Goodman's plays at the Living Theatre; they speak about Cunningham's notes for Field dances (1963), and then for Story (1963); Cunningham speaks about the inspiration for Story; the original indeterminant choreographic order of Winterbranch (1964) and later versions with a set order; he gives an anecdote about Pauline Oliveros performing on one tour as the "monster" in Winterbranch; his reasons for relinquishing the use of indeterminant choreographic order in his works in the years following the [Merce Cunningham Dance Company's] 1964 world tour; reasons that Story was not included in his ongoing repertory after the world tour but why it was performed many times for the two years that it was in repertory; why he didn't select sections from Story to be part of his Events; briefly on reconstructing Scramble (1967); he gives a brief anecdote about working with accompanist, Toshi Ichiyanagi, as well as a mention of accompanist Jack Jackson; they speak about some of the props that Bob [Robert Rauschenberg] made for a section in Story; Cunningham speaks about a cue sheet for Paired (1964) that [Rauschenberg] created by color coding and the incorporation of paint in the performances of it; [brief interruption]; Cunningham speaks about the difficulty of keeping sections in mind, but not in linear order, for performing his indeterminant based works while on tour; he speaks briefly about the indeterminant structure of Open session (1964); the set structure and rhythmic phrases of Cross currents (1964), and reviving it based on his choreographic notes; he speaks about making Cross currents, Winterbranch, Open session and Paired to accommodate the varied performance spaces on the world tour; his use of chance procedures, theater in the round spacing, and timing methods for the choreography of How to pass, kick, fall and run (1965); they speak briefly about the choreographic order of Place (1966); ends abruptly.
Type of ResourceSound recording
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 913960392NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20732896Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): e81a3970-b8f9-0133-ab4f-60f81dd2b63c
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