Experimental Music

Creative Music Studio: CMS History (Part I)

Creative Music Studio

Creative Music Studio was founded in 1971 by Karl Berger, a vibraphonist, pianist and composer; his wife, vocalist Ingrid Sertso; and the saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Its musicians came from astonishingly diverse national, generational, and stylistic backgrounds. Yet they came together to play, think, and live music. CMS practice shaped musical ways and ideas that inspired participants to go on to become leading lights in improvised music around the world in the ensuing years. Hundreds of live recordings were produced documenting what was performed there.

Conversation with Roy Nathanson (I)

Saxophonist Roy Nathanson talks about his experiences as a Columbia student during the unrest at the University and the militant aftermath during the late 1960s, his development as an artist in an astonishing variety of forms (including composition, songwriting, poetry, acting and teaching) his work with global stars and with high school students, and his basic need to "tell a story" no matter what artistic language he uses. Click here for Part II.

Conversation with Miya Masaoka and Vijay Iyer (I)

Miya Masaoka is a composer, kotoist, and sound artist.  She has created works for solo koto, ensembles, mixed choirs, live electronics, and video that have been presented across the world.  Discussing her work with her is composer, pianist, and scholar Vijay Iyer.  Ms. Masaoka talks about how her and her family's experiences as members of a persecuted minority, Japanese Americans, shaped her works that deal with Japanese artistic traditions and with subaltern social groups--and even with marginalized biological subjects such as plants and insects.

Harmonic Earthquakes

This talk examines the music festival documented in 2004 called Banlieues Bleues, which featured African American musicians from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music.  These musicians used improvisation to empower and give voice to children of color from marginalized Parisian suburban communities.

Seminar on Sound


Columbia University

Anthropology and American Studies

Spring 2007

Course Requirements

1. Regular attendance and participation at the seminar

2. Two or three class presentations based on papers of approximately 5 pages

3. A term paper of approximately 15-20 pages due on April 24


Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, eds. Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. NY, 2004

Mark Katz, Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music. Berkeley, 2004 (with CD)

Michel Chion, Audio Vision

Gittin' to Know Y'all: Improvised Music, Interculturalism, and the Racial Imagination

Critical Studies in Improvisation

Lewis notes that race has been "e-raced" in studies of free jazz in Europe and America, which he finds surprising given the music's emancipatory thrust. He investigates a recurrent ambivalence about the African-American contribution to free jazz, at once taking experimental cues from it, yet denying that it is capable of evolving or progressing itself. After uncovering coded assumptions about race, ethnicity, and class behind this ambivalence, Lewis explores the possibilities for artists to transcend, transgress, and perhaps even erase boundaries.


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