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Garland, Peter

Garland, Peter

Garland, Peter, American composer, publisher, and writer on music; b. Portland, Maine, Jan. 27, 1952. He studied music with James Tenney and Harold Budd, performance art and video with the visual artist Wolfgang Stoerchie, and American literature with the poet Clayton Eshleman at the Calif. Inst. of the Arts (B.F.A., 1972). From 1971 to 1991 he edited and published Soundings Press, which published articles and music by over 120 composers and writers, as well as Collected Studies (6 vols.) of Conlon Nancarrow and the Selected Songs of Paul Bowles. During the 1970s and the 1990s he was a resident of Mexico, living first in a Zapotec village in Oaxaca, then a Purepecha village in Michoacan, and conducting fieldwork among the Nahua Indians in the Sierra of Puebla and Vercacruz. From 1980 to 1991 he lived in Santa Fe, N.Mex., where he directed his own performing ensemble in addition to studying Hispanic and Indian musical traditions in the U.S. Southwest. From late 1991 to 1995 he made an around-the-world journey that took him to 12 countries on 5 continents, resulting in his third book of (yet-unpublished) essays, Gone Walkabout: Essays 1991–1995. From 1997 he has lived in Mexico, most currently in southern Veracruz, where in addition to composing, he is working on his fourth book of essays and studying Jarocho music and culture. As a composer, Garland is influenced by native American and Mexican cultures and since the late 1980s has maintained a close working relationship with both New York’s Essential Music and the Japanese pianist Aki Takahashi. His works are highly original—spare and lyrical—and often incorporate exotic instruments. In 1991 Essential Music presented a 20-year retrospective concert of his music in N.Y. In addition to editing nearly 30 vols. of contemporary music scores and critical articles through Soundings Press, and innumerable articles for a wide variety of journals, he publ. Americas: Essays on American Music and Culture 1973–80 (Santa Fe, 1982) and In Search of Silvestre Revueltas: Essays 1978–1990 (Santa Fe, 1991).


CHAMBER: Apple Blossom for 2 to 4 Marimbas (1972); Piano, Bass Drum, and Bullroarer (1972–73); Three Songs of Mad Coyote for 8 Tom-toms, 2 Bass Drums, 2 Pianos, 2 Bullroarers, and Lion’s Roar (1973); Obstacles of Sleep for 2 Sirens, Amplified Ratchet, Piccolo, Lion’s Roar, and 2 Pianos (1973); Hummingbird Songs 1–10 for Cupped Bands, Voices, Handclaps, Rasps, Dijeridu, Whistling, and 3 Log Drums(1974–76); Matachin Dances for 2 Violins and Gourd Rattles (1980–81); Three Valentines for Violin (1983); Monkey for 2 Pianos and Vibraphone (1983–84); Sones de Flor for Violin, Piano, Vibraphone, and 3 Tuned Drums (1984–85); Cantares de la Frontera for Harp (1986); String Quartet No. 1, “In Praise of Poor Scholars” (1986) and No. 2, “Crazy Cloud” (1994); The Club Nada Polka for Accordion (1987–88; also for Violin, Cello, and Accordion); Old Men of the Fiesta4 Dances for Violin, Harp, and 3 Percussionists (1989); Nana & Victoria for Percussion (1991); Where Beautiful Feathers Abound for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello (1991–92); I Have Had to Learn the Simplest Things Last for Piano and 3 Percussionists (1993); Love Songs for Violin, Piano, Marimbula, and Rattles (1993); Another Sunrise for 2 Pianos and 4 Percussionists (1995); Dancing on Water for Chiapan Marimba and Clarinet (1999); Palm TreesPine Trees for Flute, Cello, Piano, and 2 Percussionists (1999). Piano : Four Short Pieces For Piano (1971–76); A Song For Piano (1971); The Days Run Away For Piano (1971); Three Dawns For Piano (1981–82); Jornada Del Muerto For Piano (1987); Goddess of Liberty”you’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” For Piano (1989); Walk in Beauty For Piano (1989); Bush Radio Calling For Piano (1992); Bright Angel—hermetic Bird For Piano (1996). VOCAL: Dreaming of Immortality in a Thatched Cottage For 3 Voices, Angklung, Marimba, Harpsichord, Wooden Clappers, and Log Drum (1977); Romance (After Anne Waldman) For Narrator, Muted Trumpet, Piano, and Percussion (1985); A Season in the Congo For Chorus, Trumpet, Bass Clarinet, Harp, Bass, Piano, Rattles, and Double Bells (1986–87); The Rogue Dalton Songs For Tenor, Trumpet, Bass Clarinet, 2 Violins, Harp, Piano, and 4 Percussionists (1988); Drinking Wine For Mezzo-soprano and Piano (1989); A Green Pine For Soprano and Accordion (1990); Three Folksongs For Makiko For Woman’s Voice and Piano (1994–96); (7) Songs of Exile and Wine For Soprano and Piano (1999). M I X E D M e d i a : The Conquest of Mexico, shadow play for Dancers, Shadow Puppets, Soloists, Recorder, Harp, Harpsichord, and Percussion (1977–80). OTHER: Numerous improvisational works, both solo and in collaboration with others, including Monkey Saves the World From Nuclear Destruction (1982), The Bone Show for Solo Performers, Poet, and Puppeteer (1987), Dead Sheldons (1991), and Calling All Tengu (2000).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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