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Sound CommitmentsAvant-Garde Music and the Sixties$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336641.001.0001

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“Music Is a Universal Human Right”

“Music Is a Universal Human Right”

Musica Elettronica Viva

(p.99) 5 “Music Is a Universal Human Right”
Sound Commitments

Amy C. Beal

Oxford University Press

The Ivy‐League pedigrees of many of the Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV) composers seems to contradict their anarchic‐Marxist musical activities in Rome during the late 1960s. Influenced by the live‐electronic improvisations of John Cage and David Tudor, the Italian network of avant‐garde composers, and the intense collective work of The Living Theater, these self‐exiled Americans (including Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Teitelbaum, and Jon Phetteplace) developed a radical approach to free improvisation during a time of political and social turmoil in Europe. Joining forces in Rome in 1966, they performed throughout Europe during the late 1960s and gained influence as an intensely politicized underground model for musical action. MEV soon made the journey from performing compositions to provoking free sonic rituals where artists and audiences made music with any means available.

Keywords:   Musica Elettronica Viva, Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Teitelbaum, Jon Phetteplace, Rome, improvisation, live electronics, American experimental music, 1960s, avant‐garde

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