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Steve’s click picks #36

Our regular listen to and look at living, breathing composers and performers that you may not know yet, but I know you should… And can, right here and now, with so much good listening online:

Virgil Moorefield (b. 1956 — US)

Virgil MoorefieldWith not only an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in composition from Princeton, but a B.A. and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia (with a bit of Juilliard thrown in), you might expect some “high-concept” mixing with the music in Virgil Moorefield’s work, and so there is. But Virgil has a powerful weapon for keeping that ivory tower from becoming a tomb: he’s also a drummer. Not just any drummer, either; that’s him in the upper-center of the lower photo, the one-man motor driving Glenn Branca’s 100 guitars in Branca’s Symphony #13, “Hallucination City” (in a pic from the 2006 L.A. performance), a role he’ll be reprising when the symphony is done again this Oct. 12th at The Roundhouse in London. Toss in his time with The Swans, Elliot Sharp, Damage et al, and there’s just no way the academic cobwebs are going to close in on his compositions.

Virgil’s officially an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, but with his performing it just might be hard to catch him in a classroom there. Where you can catch him compositionally is at his website linked above, which includes a fair number of complete MP3 files of enitire pieces and/or movements. These are culled from his excellent and varied discography, which just happened to grow by one this year thanks to the Innova release Things You Must Do To Get To Heaven. Whether as a CD or as downloads from your MP3-site-of-choice, I can wholeheartedly recommend having this stuff around your house.


Comment from Joseph Benzola
Time: September 12, 2007, 4:43 pm

c’mon Layton. Don’t you know that drummers are the guys who hangout with musicians! Bongo Fury baybeeeeeeeeee!!!! You can check out Virgil’s playing with Branca on the Branca Live at the Kitchen DVD on Atavistic.

Comment from David Beardsely
Time: September 13, 2007, 8:44 pm

He’s the one playing quietly….