Robert Ashley has passed away at age 83

by on March 5, 2014 at 6:58 am in Books, Current Affairs, Music | Permalink

The great Robert Ashley, one of the musical geniuses of the last forty years, has passed away.  He is one of the few who did something truly new in music.  Here is NPR on Ashley.  Here is the opera Perfect Lives, perhaps his greatest contribution.  Here are parts of that opera on YouTube.  Here is Ashley on Wikipedia.

Sadly, Sherwin Nuland has passed away too.  His How We Die: Reflections of Life’s Final Chapter is one of my favorite books, recommended to all.

Ray Lopez March 5, 2014 at 7:10 am

Wow, Dr. Nuland’s obituary would be rejected if written as a Hollywood script, it’s that implausible! A world-class physician who was once a candidate for a lobotomy? You cannot be serious.

Herb Levy March 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

Robert Ashley was truly amazing. Beginning with Perfect Lives, he built a performance style based on the pitch & rhythms of spoken English unlike anything else in the late 20th century.

You can find videos of complete performances of his more recent works at vimeo: http://vimeo.com/user2965755/videos . These are multi-camera documentation of live shows, not the fully produced video productions that Ashley wrote for but rarely achieved.

Recently he had been developing Vidas Perfectas, a Spanish-language version of Perfect Lives, with new video. A few excerpts are here: http://vimeo.com/user5895161/videos Again, these are documentation of live performances. However, a highly produced video of this work is currently in production

Several of Ashley’s works, including Vidas Perfectas, are scheduled to be performed as part of this year’s Whitney Museum’s Biennial in the next few weeks.

Kyle Gann’s blog post (which seems to be the source for most of the early published obits): http://www.artsjournal.com/postclassic/2014/03/robert-ashley-1930-2014.html Gann’s book on Ashley is very good.

Ralph March 5, 2014 at 9:42 am

A great book indeed by Sherwin nuland. Just found out he was the father of Victoria nuland of Ukraine state department fame.

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