This spring (2011) Alvin Lucier is retiring from Wesleyan University after 41 years of teaching. I recently unearthed from my mother's attic my notebook from his "Introduction to Electronic Music", which I took my freshman year. On the occasion of his combined 80th birthday and retirement party I gave it to him. The childish handwriting and misspellings (note Lucier's name on the first page), doodles, the scribbled ideas for experiments of my own, pithy observations and self-aggrandizing pronouncements are squirm-inducing reminders that I was only 18 years old, in an epoch characterized by extreme self-indulgence. Posting it online has the recklessness of publishing a diary. I am no Ned Rorem -- this notebook does not reflect a particularly interesting life -- but I think it provides a rare window into Lucier's teaching and the musical culture of the day, both of which are very interesting indeed, and -- secondarily -- it documents my gradual conversion from student to acolyte.

You might want to start here with this short essay I wrote about my first encounter with Lucier, my experience in the course, and my reactions to re-reading the notebook after almost 40 years.

And here's a piece I wrote in early 2010 for the "Epiphanies" column of The Wire about hearing Lucier's Vespers for the first time in that class.

Some explanations:

  • The right hand pages of the notebook contain my class notes. On the left I've glued in various handouts (scores, program notes, etc), and made notes about projects of my own.
  • The ugly gray swatches are stains from deteriorating rubber cement used to hold addenda in place.
  • Comments about "digging" in the second section refer to classes missed due to fieldwork for an archaeology class I was taking the same semester.
  • So here it is, in two sections (one per semester), since the files are large.

    Introduction to Electronic Music, Fall Semester, 1972

    Introduction to Electronic Music, Spring Semester, 1973