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Synth Nights: Morton Subotnick

Pioneering American composer of interactive electronic music and multimedia Morton Subotnick returns to The Kitchen

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Video clip of performance on Vimeo

Posted on June 11, 2015 by The Kitchen

Enjoy a 8-minute video clip of the March 4, 2015 performance on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/130343887. Also currently featured on The Kitchen’s website.

Excerpt from Morton Subotncik: “From Silver Apples of the Moon to A Sky of Cloudless Sulphur: V”

Video projections by Lillevan.

Videography by Al Foote.

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Video clip of performance on Instagram

Posted on March 5, 2015 by The Kitchen

Check out the video clip of last night’s amazing performance by Subotnick with video projections by Lillevan on The Kitchen’s Instagram:

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Since 2012, Synth Nights is The Kitchen’s ongoing intergenerational concert series bringing together composers of different eras and genres within the form of electronic music. Past installments in the series featured such legendary figures as the seminal electro-acoustic ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva and the pioneering composer David Behrman as well as emerging talents, including Laurel Halo, Oneohtrix Point Never, Sergei Tcherepnin, and Ben Vida. On March 4, 2015, Synth Nights marks the return of Morton Subotnick, legendary American composer known for his pioneering work with interactive electronics and multimedia, to The Kitchen with a special concert created by transforming prepared samples from previous work while performing brand new sound gestures into a new and ongoing palette.

Subotnick has had a long history with The Kitchen beginning in the late 1970s when he performed Ghost Music, compositions where the electronic processing and amplification of live sounds were determined by a pre-programmed tape. He returned to The Kitchen in 1993 with his multimedia opera Jacob’s Room, collaborating with video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka, movement director John Alleyne, software designer Mark Coniglio, lighting designer Jason Richardson, and costume/set designer Victoria Petrovich. In the 1990s when Subotnick was the director of the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology at the California Institute of Arts he helped organized Electronic Cafe International events that connected The Kitchen in New York with the Electronic Cafe in Santa Monica and Studio X in Santa Fe for interactive performances and talks. At the inaugural concert in 1994, Subotnick performed a piece at the Santa Monica site where sensors connected to his body translated his movements into electronic signals that activated an instrument in New York. Subotnick last performed at The Kitchen in 2001 and presented Gestures: It Begins with Color. Using a computer monitor projected onto the stage, Subotnick created sounds, text, and graphics from the movements of the mouse across the screen. During this engagement Subotnick also demonstrated his interactive computer programming for children including Making Music and Making More Music at a TV Lunch program for families.

Morton Subotnick (b. 1933, Los Angeles) is one of the pioneers in the development of electronic music and an innovator in works involving instruments and other media, including interactive computer music systems. The work that brought Subotnick celebrity was Silver Apples of the Moon (1966-67), commissioned by Nonesuch Records, marking the first time an original large-scale composition had been created specifically for the disc. It has become a modern classic and was recently entered into the National Register of Recorded Works at the Library of Congress. He is also pioneering works offering musical creative tools to young children, including an iPad App, Pitch Painter, a series of CD-ROMs, and an online k-6 curriculum in musical creativity and Ear Training. Morton Subotnick’s Music Academy (http://www.msmusicacademy.com) has just been launched. He tours extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as a composer/performer and lecturer.

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Encore performance by Morton Subotnick at URBAN-15 studio in San Antonio, TX (February 22, 2013)
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Features: The Kitchen

As part of a week-long residency in February 2013 at URBAN-15 studio in San Antonio, TX, Morton Subotnick performed three concerts for the public. In celebration of his 80th birthday, URBAN-15 invited Subotnick to present a live expanded performance of “From Silver Apples to a Sky of Cloudless Sulphur: Revisited,” featuring a four-channel surround sound format with the seated audience set in facing quadrants towards the composer and his original hybrid Buchla 200e synthesizer. (4:58 minutes)

Excerpt of performance by Morton Subotnick and California E.A.R. Unit at CalArts’ REDCAT, Los Angeles (March 24, 2012)
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Subotnick performs with the E.A.R. Unit—collaborators since 1980—for a live revisit to his iconic works, rendered with new technology. In the 1960-70s, Subotnick worked with Buchla synthesizers and tape recorders to create new electronic works meant for the home environment—and later adapted his music for live performance. Now equipped with Ableton Live on his Mac and the new Buchla 200e, he creates evenings of spontaneous performance and decision-making. (7:08 minutes)

Excerpts from a performance by Morton Subotnick with video artist Lillevan at Bregenzer Festspiele, Austria (2010)
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Features: The Kitchen

This festival concert in Austria featured a reworking of the legendary Silver Apples of the Moon and incorporated a lot of improvisation. Silver Apples of the Moon is Morton Subotnick’s seminal work (1966-67), the first album of all-electronic music featuring exotic timbres and dance-inspiring rhythms. Subotnick is accompanied by his frequent collaborator, video artist Lillevan. (3:55 minutes)

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New York, New York

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Last update on June 11, 2015

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New York, New York
Located in the Chelsea gallery district near the High Line, The Kitchen is one of New York City’s most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines of music, dance, performance, theater, and visual art. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the…


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