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James Pritchett

Princeton, NJ      

James Pritchett was one of the first writers to deal with John Cage’s music on its own terms—as music.  His research presented the first clear documentation of Cage’s chance operations of the 1950s, and provided a model for the analytical study of this work.  Pritchett is the author of The music of John Cage (Cambridge University Press, 1992), the first critical study of the whole of Cage’s work.  He has also written on the work of pianist/composer David Tudor and is currently trying to find a way to write about the music of Morton Feldman.  Pritchett also writes fiction/poetry.  He created the text and video for Frances White’s instrumental theatre trilogy The old rose reader, As night falls, and The book of roses and memory.  You can read more of his writing at The piano in my life (RoseWhiteMusic.com/piano).


The old rose reader

“The old rose reader” is an extended open-form text that tells the story of a man who reads to his wife from gardening books and tells stories about the roses named there. It was the text for two musical works by composer Frances White, including this piece for violin, electronic sound, and video.

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From a fairy tale

“From a fairy tale” is the first of a projected series of short texts, each of which will expose a small part of a larger world based on the fairy tale “The princess in the chest”. These revealed moments will imply a larger story context without actually providing it, drawing upon the listener’s own memory and imagination. Here the text is read by Valeria Vasilevski.

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