The International Institute of Madrid is organising a series of three lectures and a concert on American musical minimalism.
The International Institute of Madrid, the American cultural centre founded in Madrid in 1903, has organised a series of three lectures on American minimalist music, preceding the Madrid premiere in April of John Adams’ opera, Nixon in China. The series is entitled Reiteration of Diversity: Minimal Music and American Opera of the 20th Century and will be given by Gabriel Menéndez Torrellas, PhD in Aesthetics and Philosophy and Musicologist and Art Historian at the Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), where he was a professor in the Faculty of Musicology. He currently directs the Seminar of Opera and Musicology at the CEU San Pablo University in Madrid, where he teaches the History of Opera.
The first of the lectures, entitled Introduction to American Minimal Music, will be held on Tuesday 21 March at 19:00 at the headquarters of the International Institute (Miguel Ángel, 8), and will offer a presentation of the main features of the movement, from its beginnings (which harks back to John Cage or even to certain models of the African oral tradition), and will include audiovisual musical examples. The next two conferences, to be held on Tuesdays 28 March and 11 April at the same time, will deal, respectively, with the fundamental opera of the genre, Einstein on the Beach, by Philip Glass, with stage direction by Bob Wilson, and Nixon in China, by Adams, whose premiere in Madrid, at the Teatro Real, on 17 April, has been the excuse for the celebration of this informative cycle.
Einstein on the Beach premiered in Avignon in 1976 and was a true revolution in the musical and theatrical language of opera, the like of which has never been seen since. Nixon in China was the first opera premiered by John Adams, a composer belonging to the first generation of post-minimalist composers. It had its world premiere in Houston in 1987 and still has musical features inspired by the generation of Terry Riley, LaMonte Young, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
Complementing the cycle of conferences, on Friday 24th, at 20:00, there will be a concert by the Spanish pianist Fabio Álvarez (Orense, 1988), in which he will perform his second album, Mad Rush, released at the end of 2022 by the IBS Classical label and made up exclusively of compositions by Philip Glass from different periods: Mad Rush (1981), Etudes No. 2, 6, 5 and 9 (1991-2002), Witchita Vortex Sutra (1988), Knee Play No. 4 from Act 3 of Einstein on the Beach (1975), Conclusion from Act 3 of Satyagraha (1979), Dance from Act 2 of Akhnaten (1983) and Knee Play No. 5 from Einstein on the Beach (1975) arranged by Fabio Álvarez for narrator and piano.