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Alvin Lucier Has Died, Aged 90
Christian Eede , December 1st, 2021 22:17

The American avant-garde composer had suffered a recent fall

American experimental composer Alvin Lucier has died at his home in Middletown, Connecticut. He was 90.

Mary Lucier, the composer's former wife and collaborator, initially shared the news on Facebook, with Lucier's daughter Amanda Lucier later telling The New York Times that the cause of death was complications after a fall.

Alvin Lucier was known for his long-form avant-garde works, which saw him work with room acoustics and various leftfield sources for sound. His landmark 1969 piece 'I Am Sitting In A Room' explored spatial acoustics, with the titular phrase appearing in spoken word, recorded and played into a room, and then re-recorded repeatedly until the words became unrecognisable.

Born in 1931 in Nashua, New Hampshire, he studied music theory and composition at Yale, before continuing his education at Brandeis University. In 1960, he travelled to Rome on a Fullbright Fellowship, and took in performances of works by the likes of John Cage and David Tudor. In 1966, he became a member of the Sonic Arts Union alongside composers like David Behrman, Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma.

Lucier also took up teaching posts over the course of his career, returning to Brandeis University to teach students during the 1960s, before moving on to become a professor of music at Wesleyan University.

The composer continued to work on various pieces and installations into the 21st century, most recently releasing Music For Piano XL with French pianist Nicolas Horvath earlier this year.