Philip Corner

Biography

Picture Philip Corner
Philip Corner, born in 1933 in New York, now resident in Reggio Emilia, Italy, is an american composer of interdisciplinary works that have been performed throughout the world; he is also active as a performer, visual artist and writer. In the field of new music, he has performed as a pianist, trombonist and vocalist and also played alphorn and various natural objects, including resonant metals. He studied composition with Henry Cowell and Otto Luening at Columbia University, and analysis and musical philosophy with Olivier Messiaen in Paris. In the 60's he became part of the group around John Cage, and he taught Modern Music in USA in different schools and Universities. Corner was a founding participant of Fluxus since 1961. He co-founded with Malcolm Goldstein and James Tenney the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble (1963-1970), Out of Silent Spaces (1972-1979) and Gamelan Son of Lion (1976, still active). His music frequently explores unintentional sound, chance activities, minimalism, and non-Western instruments and tuning systems; improvisation is important, though not exclusive. Some 'performance proposals' lead to a kind of ecstatic semi-trance. Contact with artists in other media, especially dance and the visual arts, as well as a long-standing interest in Eastern religions such as Zen Buddhism and study of the music of composers from the Baroque and Pre-Baroque eras, has impacted his music. Representative works include the ensemble pieces Passionate Expanse of the Law, Sang-teh/Situations and Through the Mysterious Barricade, among many others. Also in his incredibly large oeuvre are piano pieces (perfect, Pictures of Pictures from Pictures of Pictures), choral works (Peace, be still), electronic music (the war cantata Oracle), and more than 400 works in the Gamelan series, to mention only some of his catalogue. He has released part of his corpus for Alga Marghen, and recently a new interpretation of Satie Slowly for Unseen Worlds rec. In addition to his sound work, he has created numerous assemblages, calligraphy, collages, drawings, and paintings, and also written much poetry. His works are regularly exhibited in galleries, mostly in Europe, and are in notable museum collections.

For the latest exhibitions of the artist, please see the Appointments' Archive