Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier Memorial Livestream on June 19

On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19th – 2pm ET, The Stokes-Lucier family and ISSUE Project Room will host a memorial for the late Alvin Lucier (May 14th, 1931 – Dec. 1st, 2021), revolutionary American composer and beloved pioneer of experimental music. ISSUE will be publicly livestreaming the full memorial online with speeches from Alvin’s family and friends including Wendy Stokes & Amanda Lucier, David Behrman, Susan Foster, and James Fei as well as performances of his work from Charles Curtis and the Ever Present Orchestra including Vespers, Three Cardboard Boxes, an archival presentation of I am sitting in a room, and more. The in-person memorial is by invitation of the family only.

A Guide to Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier, who died December 1st, 2021, at the age of 90, was a giant of experimental music. His insights into sound—how it’s produced, controlled, and experienced, and what that all might mean—were not just conceptually and intellectually profound, but beautiful and magical to experience. As a thinker who demonstrated his ideas, he was more like Albert Einstein than any of his musical peers, able to see ubiquitous experiences from perspectives so new and so different that they challenged existing language while striking the intuition as something exactly right and absolutely perfect.

Alvin Lucier (1931–2021)

ALVIN LUCIER DID THINGS QUIETLY, without fanfare. He made a piece for cello and wind, which I played outdoors at the Mimm’s Ranch amphitheater in Marfa in 2016. I sat maybe a hundred yards off from the listeners, almost out of sight, and the soft sweeping tones of the cello were to be borne back to the listeners by the soft west Texas wind. In place of any explanation or score, Alvin sent me in advance a photocopy, by mail, of the first page of Hermann Broch’s The Death of Virgil. Sounds from the shore of Brundisium, “a sound of life, a hammering or a summons,” are blown by a “soft, scarcely perceptible cross wind” across the Adriatic to the approaching Imperial fleet, reaching the ears of the ailing poet. This was apparently all Alvin needed me know. The very first piece he ever made for me, in 2002, he sent in a plain manila envelope without announcement or comment, just his name written beneath the word “Cordially.” Telephone calls, and conversations generally, were pleasant for the silences accorded to Alvin’s stutter. One waited for the words to arrive, and reflected, during the gaps, on what had been said, and what might yet remain to be said.
Science Friday

Alvin Lucier, Composer At The Intersection Of Science And Sound, Dead At 90

Few artists straddled the line between science experiment and musical composition more often, or more nimbly, than Alvin Lucier. The composer died this week at his home in Connecticut, where he had taught at Wesleyan University for decades. Lucier was one of the giant figures in experimental, electronic, and electro-acoustic music, known for “making the inaudible… audible.”

Experimental composer Alvin Lucier has died aged 90

Experimental composer Alvin Lucier has passed away aged 90. Lucier, best known for his experimental approach to sound, passed away due to compilations following a fall - according to his daughter Amanda Lucier. The New York Times has reported that he died on Wednesday December 1 at his home in...

Alvin Lucier, Groundbreaking Experimental Composer, Dead at 90

Alvin Lucier, an avant-garde composer who experimented with new ways to record and distort sounds, died on December 1. Lucier died at his home in Middletown, Connecticut, after a fall, his daughter, Amanda, told the New York Times. He was 90 years old. Lucier was known for his musical compositions that aimed for new ways to channel sound. For his best-known art piece, 1969’s I Am Sitting in a Room, he recorded himself reciting a speech (“I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now …”) in an enclosed room then played back the recording and recorded that. He continued to replay and record the slowly degrading recordings until left with unrecognizable pitches. The piece remains highly influential and known in experimental music for its questions about technology, acoustics, and time. I Am Sitting in a Room also showcased a sense of humor and playfulness present in Lucier’s works, such as his notable 1990 piece Nothing Is Real, which involved recording a pianist playing the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” then playing back the recording inside a teapot and opening and closing the lid to alter the sound. Lucier was also heavily interested in brain waves, which were the basis of one of his first major experimental pieces, 1965’s Music for Solo Performer.

Alvin Lucier, Experimental Composer, Dies at 90

Experimental composer Alvin Lucier has died at the age of 90 at his home in Middletown, Connecticut, The New York Times reports. Mary Lucier, the composer’s former wife and collaborator, shared the news on Facebook earlier today (December 1). Lucier’s daughter Amanda Lucier later told The Times that the cause of death was complications after a fall. Lucier was known for his avant-garde works and installations, which sometimes involved brain waves, room acoustics, and other unexpected sources for sound.
Paste Magazine

Sitting in a Room with Alvin Lucier, a Visionary Composer and a Passionate Teacher

Few composers ever understood the value of a good accident the way Alvin Lucier did. Of course, any good artist, in any discipline, must be attuned to the epiphanies and possibilities that present themselves in moments unguarded. But Lucier—the influential visionary of experimental music who died this week at the age of 90—created a body of work that seemed to exist in the sonic space between plan and happenstance, between entropy and control. Across a career that spanned 60 years, Lucier was a visionary who permanently expanded the boundaries of what music could be and how it could be created.
Washington Post

Alvin Lucier, seminal avant-garde composer, dies at 90

Alvin Lucier, an acclaimed composer of the perpetual avant-garde who found music in everything, including the opening and closing of an umbrella over a ticking alarm clock as well as the overtones of a triangle being struck repeatedly for 15 minutes, died Dec. 1 at his home in Middletown, Conn. He was 90.

Alvin Lucier, inquisitive and innovative composer, has died at 90

Alvin Lucier, the groundbreaking American composer and educator, died Wednesday at his home in Middletown, Conn. after a long illness. He was 90. Lucier changed the way we think about sound through monumental works like I Am Sitting in a Room and Music on a Long Thin Wire. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a little over a decade ago; NPR confirmed the news of his death with Amanda Lucier, his daughter.
The Quietus

Alvin Lucier Has Died, Aged 90

The American avant-garde composer had suffered a recent fall. American experimental composer Alvin Lucier has died at his home in Middletown, Connecticut. He was 90. Mary Lucier, the composer's former wife and collaborator, initially shared the news on Facebook, with Lucier's daughter Amanda Lucier later telling The New York Times that the cause of death was complications after a fall.

Vanguard Composer Alvin Lucier Dies, New Details of Rubell D.C. Museum, and More: Morning Links for December 2, 2021

To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter. The Headlines ALVIN LUCIER, the avant-garde composer of unconventional means and immense influence, has died at 90, the New York Times reports. Trained in classical composition, Lucier had early encounters with pieces by radical figures like Arnold Schoenberg and John Cage that pushed him to make venturesome work. His most famous piece may be I Am Sitting in a Room (1969), in which he recorded himself reading a text that begins with those words, then played it and re-recorded it, repeating the process until it became a tangled, otherworldly sonic field. “I just wrote that text in...
Antelope Valley Press

Composer of soundscapes, Alvin Lucier has died at 90

Alvin Lucier, an influential experimental composer whose works focused less on traditional musical elements like melody and harmony than on the scientific underpinnings of sound and of listeners’ perceptions, died, Wednesday, at his home in Middletown, Connecticut, where he had taught for decades at Wesleyan University. He was 90. His...