Composer and Musicologist Kyle Gann Guest at Annual Symposium

Kyle Gann

Jan. 21, 2016      

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University will host composer and musicologist Kyle Gann for the annual Symposium of Contemporary Music, held this year on Feb. 12 and 13.

The former new-music critic for The Village Voice, Gann has composed over 100 works of music. Gann has authored the books Robert Ashley (2012), American Music in the 20th Century (1997), Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice (2006), No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33" (2010), and The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995). A professor of music at New York’s Bard College since 1997, Gann was awarded the Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center in 2003 and the Peabody Award for his writings. His latest work, Essays After a Sonata: Charles Ives’s Concord focuses on Ives’ “Concord Sonata,” a musical representation of 19th-century, transcendentalist authors living in Concord, Mass.: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and her father, Bronson, and Henry David Thoreau.

Gann will present a lecture “Charles Ives: Translating Literature into Sound” on Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Presser Hall room 258. A concert of Gann’s music, including the world premieres of Transcendentalist Songs and Implausible Sketches, will be presented Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Westbrook Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.

Currently directed by Fern Rosetta Sherff Professor of Music David Vayo, the Symposium of Contemporary Music at IWU began in 1952. The annual event brings prominent guest performers or composers to the university. Vayo said Gann is one of the world's foremost authorities on 20th-century and contemporary concert music of the United States. "He's a figure of real significance to contemporary music," Vayo said. The symposium is also part of the School of Music’s New Music Series.

By Lydia Hartlaub ’16