Terry Riley, Richmond California, December 2006

Delivering Keynote address, Kansas City, September 2009

Starting around 2005, I have been involved in a research a writing project which has resulted in publication of a book, Terry Riley’s In C (available on Amazon.com), published in August 2009.

I was drawn to the piece as over the years I reviewed multiple recordings of it. The music was always identifiably the same, the notes and rhythms were the same, but the result was always different. It was open and fixed at once, “raw and cooked.” And my own students continued to see it as a seminal work from the 2nd half of the 20th century. So I found I needed to get to know it in depth.

What I found out was more than I’d anticipated, in fact a whole new world for me. For the next four years I met and interviewed the major participants in both the concert (1964 in San Francisco) and recorded (1968 in New York) premieres of the work.

Along with analysis and aesthetic consideration, the book is a multifaceted examination and contemplation of the piece. I hope it’s scholarly enough to satisfy historical standards and theoretical standards, but I also want it to be open and readable in the way only a composer could write.

Lectures, writings, reviews, and interviews:

My keynote address from the 2nd International Conference on Minimalist Music in Kansas City (Sept. 2009; the other speaker was Tom Johnson).

Oxford Press blog (posts on the book and its process of creation)

Interview with Frank Oteri at newmusicbox.com (1/14/10)

Read the transcript here.

Kyle Gann has some cogent thoughts, as usual, about the book on his PostClassic blog

A feature on NPR’s “IA” celebrates the inclusion of the premier recording of the work in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Archive. I am one of the talking heads in a beautifully produced audio piece: https://the1a.org/segments/the-sounds-of-america-terry-riley-in-c/