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Gordon Mumma & Michelle Fillion – Cybersonic Arts

Each year UVic faculty, staff, students, alumni, and retirees produce an incredible amount of intellectual content reflecting their breadth and diversity of research, teaching, personal, and professional interests. A list of these works is available here.

Cybersonic ArtsSchool of Music Adjunct Faculty member, Gordon Mumma’s book, Cybersonic Arts: Adventures in American New Music, was recently published by the University of Illinois Press. The book, edited by School of Music Musicology Professor, Dr. Michelle Fillion, is a collection of Mumma’s writings from every stage of his career. The book is a candid and insightful account of a broad artistic community by an active participant and observer.

About the Book

Composer, performer, instrument builder, teacher, and writer Gordon Mumma has left an indelible mark on the American contemporary music scene. A prolific composer and innovative French horn player, Mumma is recognized for integrating advanced electronic processes into musical structures, an approach he has termed “Cybersonics.”

Musicologist Michelle Fillion curates a collection of Mumma’s writings, presenting revised versions of his classic pieces as well as many unpublished works from every stage of his storied career. Here, through words and astonishing photos, is Mumma’s chronicle of seminal events in the musical world of the twentieth century, including his cofounding of the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music; his role in organizing the ONCE Festivals of Contemporary Music; his performances with the Sonic Arts Union; and his work alongside John Cage and David Tudor as a composer-musician with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In addition, Mumma describes his collaborations with composers, performers, dancers, and visual artists ranging from Robert Ashley and Pauline Oliveros to Marcel Duchamp and Robert Rauschenberg.

About the EditorM Fillion

Michelle Fillion joined the UVic School of Music faculty in 2002 after almost two decades at Mills College (Oakland California), where she was Professor and Head of the Music Department. There she received the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Teaching Award in 2002, and held the Mary S. Metz honorary Chair for Excellence and Creativity in Teaching in 2000-01.  She received her Ph.D. in musicology from Cornell University in 1982, with a dissertation on Joseph Haydn and the accompanied keyboard divertimento in Vienna before 1780. Her teaching areas are the instrumental and vocal music of the classic, romantic, and early modern periods, its styles, performance practices, and cultural contexts. Her fields of research include Haydn’s keyboard music, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s chamber music, Beethoven, Schubert, and music and literature in Edwardian England.

About the Author

G MummaFrom 1953 to 1966 Gordon Mumma lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he co-founded with Robert Ashley the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music and the now-historic ONCE Festivals of Contemporary Music. From 1966 to 1974 he was, with John Cage and David Tudor, one of the three composer-musicians with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, for which he composed four commissioned works. From 1966 he also performed with the Sonic Arts Union, whose members included Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Alvin Lucier.

He has served on the faculties of the University of Illinois, the Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Darmstadt, Germany), and the Cursos Latinoamericanos de Música Contemporánea (Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Santiago, R.D.). From 1975 to 1994 he was Professor of Music at the University of California. At Mills College in Oakland, California, he was the Darius Milhaud Professor in 1981, Distinguished Visiting Composer in 1989, and the Jean Macduff Vaux Composer-in-Residence in 1999.

In 2000 he received the biennial John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. His composing and performing in the 21st Century have continued primarily with solo instrumental and chamber music. Some of his recent solo music has employed electronic elements, including music for the 2006 Gaudeamus Festival in Holland. He currently teaches as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria, while sharing his time between both British Columbia and California.

Praise for the Book

“A wonderful resource for music and the arts, the book can be read as narrative or used as reference. Highly recommended.”–Choice

“A treasure trove of primary source material on American, and to a lesser extent Latin-American, music, especially of the experimental kind. The reader is repeatedly struck by the genuineness of Mumma’s writing; whether in passages from his diary or accounts of now-significant events, he writes with the authority of one who was actually there.”–Bob Gilmore, editor of Ben Johnston’s “Maximum Clarity” and Other Writings on Music

“Widely known as a multi-talented composer/performer and inventor of handmade circuits and various forms of electronic wizardry that revolutionized live electronic music, Mumma is far more than the prototypical American ‘maverick.’ His fierce dedication to his own artistic vision has always been coupled to a voracious interest in the work of the pathbreaking composers, performers, dancers, architects, and visual artists who inhabit his music world and with whom he has often collaborated. This elegantly edited and annotated book is thus not only an invaluable overview of Mumma’s extraordinary creative output and ideas, but also an intimate insider’s telling of the history of experimental music during the last half century.”–David W. Bernstein, editor of The San Francisco Tape Music Center: 1960s Counterculture and the Avant-Garde