Lowertown Listening Session
Mary Jane Leach on Julius Eastman
Nov. 7, 2018
6 p.m. music
5:30 p.m. doors open
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
Author, composer and performer Mary Jane Leach discusses her work recovering the music of Julius Eastman, creating the book Gay Guerrilla with Renee Packard, and the New York City new music scene in the late 1970s and 1980s. African American minimalist composer Julius Eastman’s vibrant, virtuosic, and rhythmically aggressive music, and the racially and sexually charged nature of his work challenged the musical establishment and anti-establishment alike in the 1970s and 1980s, greatly impacting the trajectory of American minimalism. Lost after his death in 1990, Eastman’s music has been recently recovered is asserting its influence once again.
This event is presented in conjunction with Zeitgeist and Mary Jane Leach's residency at St. Cloud State University, which will culminate with a concert of works by Julius Eastman on Nov. 9, 2018 at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN.
Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was a composer, vocalist, and pianist. He was among a small number of 20th century African American composers who found their voice through the American experimental music tradition. Highly regarded as a performer and composer, Eastman was a member of the Creative Associates at SUNY Buffalo from 1968-1975 and part of the “downtown” NYC music scene of the late 70s and 80s. He created high-powered minimalist works, and was among the first to infuse minimalism with a pop music sensibility. He made bold social statements through his compositions, addressing bigotry and non-inclusion of African Americans and LGBTQ communities with his use of provocative titles (Evil N….r, Gay Guerrilla) and unconventional performance practice. A series of misfortunes and personal struggles left Eastman homeless in the mid 1980s, with much of his music confiscated when he was evicted from his home. Eastman died in Buffalo in 1990 at age 49.
Mary Jane Leach is a composer/performer whose work reveals a fascination with the physicality of sound, its acoustic properties and how they interact with space. In many of her works Leach creates an other-worldly sound environment using difference, combination, and interference tones; these are tones not actually sounded by the performers, but acoustic phenomena arising from her deft manipulation of intonation and timbral qualities. The result is striking music which has a powerful effect on listeners.
Leach's recent work recovering the music of Julius Eastman led to her book Gay Guerrilla, a collection of essays exploring Eastman's life and work. In addition to analyses of Eastman's music, the essays in Gay Guerrilla provide background on his remarkable life history and the era's social landscape. The book presents an authentic portrait of a notable American artist that is compelling reading for the general reader as well as scholars interested in twentieth-century American music, American studies, gay rights, and civil rights.
Lowertown Listening Sessions invite curious listeners to enjoy adventurous sounds and insightful conversation with the music-makers of our time. Held at Studio Z, Zeitgeist’s performance space in Lowertown St. Paul, this monthly happy hour series brings guest artists from all genres of new music (jazz, classical, world music, folk, and more) for performances and informal discussion in an after-work setting with food and beverages from Lowertown eateries.
Tickets can be securely purchased by credit card or through your PayPal account in advance, or by cash, check, or credit card at the door. Tickets purchased online will be held at the door.