Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bill Bolcom in Boulder

Bill Bolcom and his wife Joan Morris just spent a couple of days in Boulder working with the CU Wind Symphony and talking with our students. It was an absolute delight to have them in town. Aside from hearing great performances of Bill’s music, there are two highlights which I will always remember…

1. Bill and Joan performed a few of their cabaret songs. For years I have heard about how wonderful they are as a duo. People rave about their concerts but I have never had the chance to attend a performance. During the Tuesday afternoon talk, they did just a few songs which were all fantastic. They were funny, marvelously inventive, touching, and performed with an inspiring amount of musicality. The first cycle was called “Minicabs” which is short for mini-cabaret-songs. I need to hunt down the score and buy a copy immediately.

2. Bill told a story about an afternoon where he and John Cage talked on the radio for 3 hours. Near the end of the time Bill started to talk about how he was at a bit of an aesthetic crisis with just too many options. John Cage told him he didn’t like arbitrary or external aesthetic divides but rather one should look within. It was a pivotal conversation for Bill and lead to the music that has defined his career.

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