Friday, February 5, 2010
Alice F. Shields (1943)
Alice F. Shields (Manhattan, New York, February 18th, 1943)
In 1950 Vladimir Ussachevsky (Columbia University) and Otto Luening (Princeton University) set up the Electronic Music Center. Based in New York in one of the areas of Columbia University, the Center gets legitimated in 1959 thank to a Rockefeller Foundation. EMC's aim is to teach to young musicians the new techniques of electronic music; the instruments (oscillators, phonographs, microphones, sequencers, electronic organs, filters, recorders and much more) were at the complete disposal of the students for recordings and live-sets. From 1959 to 1970, when the studio's direction is entrusted to Ussacevsky, the most famous artists and composers visit, study or work at the EMC.
Alice Sherds gets to the Columbia in 1961 to study music and literature. After following Jack Besson's composition lessons, she graduates and becomes Ussachevsky teaching assistant, Besson's counterpointed professor. From 1965 to 1982 she is technical instructor and associate director at the Princeton-Culumbia Electronic Music Center.
“When in 1964 I walked into the building for the first time, I could see and hear the laboratory monkeys screeching in their cages. Such was the building in which the Electronic Music Center existed, and for at least twenty years nurtured the creation of hundreds of wildly diverse works of art.”
Brilliant mezzo-soprano, Alice strait to mix her voice recording with loops, feedback, oscillators and filter generated electronic music. In 1965 she studies singing with Helen Merritt; in 1968 she realizes Study for Voice and Tape, synchronizing vocal recordings with synthetic sounds on tape created with a Buchla. The blending of electronic music and opera air will be the leitmotif of Alice Shields' research activity: from 1966 to 1968 she works to lake George Opera Festival and in 1970 she directs her frost opera, Odyssey. Voice becomes a real instrument in Shaman, electronic opera realized at the American Chamber Opera Company in 1987. Alice Shields works today as a composer in et opera's environment and she is well known for her contribution to the field with extra-classic sources (indian music, native american symbols and so forth).
(save yourself, idiot)
--dead tired, can’t make it
(save yourself, idiot)
and she smothering you
you lie stinking, hot and nude on an asphalt roof.
She whacking, pummeling you,
my advice is, Complain.
--and then your bellow is beefed and gutted,
spat with smirking cheeks over the parapet.
Wide scraping sun-hips skin you, flail you,
and you graveling there nude on asphalt,
and you ecstasy in your bright bloody face."