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North Indian Classical Vocal Music and the Compositions and Performance of Terry Riley

April  22, 2014
6:15 pm - 9:00 pm


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Terry Riley
Terry RileyTerry Riley

North Indian Classical Vocal Music and the Compositions and Performance of Terry Riley

North Indian Classical vocal music has the unique characteristic of being both a classical, highly codified system of performance while offering liberating spontaneities and endless opportunities to recreate the "known or given." We will look at how this is accomplished and at some of the practices undertaken leading to this goal. We will hear excerpts from Master Vocalist, Pandit Pran Nath and we will look at specific ragas and talk about their structure in performance. Participants will learn to sing basic phrases from key ragas and learn to distinguish ragas that share the same scales.

Later in the evening Terry Riley will demonstrate (live) some of his own work, much of which was developed before his studies in Indian Classical Music. He will show how they share similar aesthetic and spiritual attributes, and how his early keyboard studies and their development over the years turned into pieces like Shri Camel and the Persian Surgery Dervishes. In addition, Riley will show how these forms branched out from early minimalism into his latter more complex orchestral works.

California Composer Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic IN C in 1964. This seminal work Provided a new concept in musical form based on interlocking repetitive patterns. It's impact was to change the course of 20th Century music and it's influence has been heard in the works of prominent composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams and in the music of Rock Groups such as The Who, The Soft Machine, Tangerine Dream, Curved Air and many others. Terry's hypnotic, multi-layered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated eastern flavored improvisations and compositions set the stage for the prevailing interest in a new tonality.

While working on a masters degree at UC Berkeley in 1960, he met La Monte Young, whose radical approach to time made a big impact and the two made a life long association. During this time Riley and Young worked out many of their seminal ideas while working with influential dancer Anna Halprin.

During a sojourn to Europe 1962-64 he collaborated with members of the Fluxus group, playwright Ken Dewey and trumpeter Chet Baker and was involved in street theater and happenings. In 1965 he move to New York and joined La Monte Young's Theater of Eternal Music. 1967 was the year of his first all night concert at the Philadelphia College of Art and he began a collaboration with visual artist Robert Benson resulting in more all night concerts.

Recordings of IN C, A Rainbow in Curved Air, Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band and the Church of Anthrax were all issued by CBS Masterworks in 1968-69.

In 1970, Terry became a disciple of the revered North Indian Raga Vocalist, Pandit Pran Nath and made the first of his numerous trips to India to study with the Master. He appeared frequently in concert with the legendary singer as tampura, tabla and vocal accompanist over the next 26 years until Pran Naths passing in 1996. He has co-directed along with Sufi Murshid, Shabda Kahn of the Chisti Sabri India music study tours 1993-2000.

Terry regularly appears in concerts of Indian Classical Music and conducts raga singing seminars.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
CIIS Main Building
$35/50/65 (when one tier sells out, that tier is closed)
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California Institute of Integral Studies, 1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103


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