Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16

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Title
Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16
Names
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Associated name)
Cunningham, Merce (Interviewee)
Vaughan, David, 1924- (Interviewer)
Collection

Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection. Audio materials

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1978-06-13
Date Created: 1978-06-16
Library locations
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
Shelf locator: *LTC-A 1446
Topics
Cunningham, Merce
Cage, John
Dodds, Baby, 1898-1959
Le Clercq, Tanaquil
Mansfield, Portia
Nichols, Betty
Perry, Charlotte, 1889-1983
Preger-Simon, Marianne
Satie, Erik, 1866-1925 -- Piège de Méduse
Tanner, Virginia, 1915-1979
Ballet Society (New York, N.Y.)
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)
Martha Graham Dance Company
Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp
School of American Ballet
Fast blues (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Four walls (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Idyllic song (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Mysterious adventure (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Princess Zondilda and her entourage (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Seasons (Choreographic work : Cunningham)
Choreography
Dance -- Study and teaching
Genres
Interviews
Notes
Content: David Vaughan interviews Merce Cunningham, probably in New York, New York, on June 13 and 16, 1978. This interview was created as research for David Vaughan's book, Merce Cunningham: Fifty years (New York, Aperture).
Content: Title and dates provided by cataloger based on audition and handwritten and typed notes on original container.
Content: Handwritten and typed notes on original original container: "1. David Vaughan: Interview with Merce Cunningham, 13 June 1978 ; 2. Continued ; 16 June 1978".
Venue: Recorded in, [New York, New York], 1978 June 13 and 16.
Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Citation/reference: Forms part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation Collection.
Physical Description
Audiocassette
Extent: 1 audiocassette (94 minutes) : analog
Sound quality is mostly good; at times the interviewee is muffled or speaks away from the recording microphone but is mostly audible.
Description
Streaming file 1, Jun. 13, 1978: Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan about the dancers in a film of his Four walls (1944), performed at the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp; Cunningham speaks about the set design for Four walls by Arch Lauterer and the composition by John Cage played by Drusa Wilker; they continue to speak about the performers in Four walls; Cunningham tells an anecdote about Lauterer advising him to edit the piece; briefly, teaching dance classes at Perry-Mansfield; Cunningham's admiration of Portia Mansfield and Charlotte Perry, and their running of the school; more about Four walls and his re-use of material from it for later works, including in his Soliloquy; they speak about his sharing a program in Salt Lake City with Virginia Tanner, a dancer in Four walls; Cunningham speaks about the choreographic process for his solo Idyllic song (1944), including music by Erik Satie and Cage's admiration of this piece; he speaks about his Mysterious adventure (1945), especially the costumes and a set piece by David Hare; briefly, on performances of Mysterious adventure overlapping with the last season he was in the Martha Graham Dance Company; some of the visual artists with whom Cunningham was acquainted at that time including [Piet] Mondrian and Morris Graves; [brief telephone interruption]; they speak about Cunningham's Experiences (1945), a solo on the program he co-presented with Cage; an anecdote on touring with Cage and performing with a local flute player; they speak about his resigning from the Graham Company; the 1946 concert in which he premiered Encounter, and Invocation to Vahakin; he speaks about another work on the 1946 program, Fast Blues (1946), which was accompanied by Baby Dodds; he speaks about Princess Zondilda and her entourage (1946) which was a trio with Virginia Bosler and [Katherine] Katie Litz; the dancer who later performed in Katie's role, Olga Lunick; Cunningham speaks about Lincoln Kirstein asking him to create a commissioned work for Ballet Society, his Seasons (1947); he speaks about a last minute venue change for the premiere performance of Seasons to be at the Ziegfeld Theatre; ends abruptly.Streaming file 2, Jun. 16, 1978: Merce Cunningham speaks with David Vaughan about the rehearsal schedule for his Seasons (1947) as well as its sections; briefly, the original cast of ballet dancers that performed in Seasons; they speak about the original title for Seasons; Cunningham speaks about his inspiration for Seasons, more on the lighting and set design by Isamu Noguchi, and the choreographic structure for the sections; Vaughan reads the original program notes for Seasons and they speak about the Preludes for each section; Cunningham tells an anecdote about working with Tanaquil LeClerq in Seasons; he speaks about being invited by Muriel Stuart to teach at the School of American Ballet, and they speak about his classes there; very briefly, on teaching the following summer at the University of California, Los Angeles; briefly, on subsequent performances of Seasons; Cunningham speaks about his Dream (1948), including the music by John Cage; Cunningham speaks about an impromptu visit to Black Mountain College while on a driving tour with Cage in 1948 and their being invited by Josef Albers to teach there; he speaks about other notable teachers and artists at Black Mountain; he speaks about the 1948 Black Mountain production of Piège de Méduse by Erik Satie at Cage's suggestion; he tells an anecdote about casting Buckminster Fuller in Piège; more on the cast, sets and costumes of that production; Cunningham speaks about the dances he re-used from Piège that were performed independently in 1948: Monkey dances (1948), Orestes (1948), and Diversion (1948); more on references to Krishna and the Gopis in Diversion; Cunningham speaks about the 1949 tour with Cage through the United States including the performances, the terrible driving conditions, and some of the audience responses; Cunningham speaks about traveling to Italy in the spring of 1949; traveling to Paris including a mention of rehearsing with Tanaquil LeClerq and Betty Nichols in Paris, 1949; more on his stay in Paris, including finding a dance studio to teach classes and rehearse in through Marianne Preger[-Simon]; he seaks about observing [Olga] Preobrajenska teach as well as other dance teachers and performances that he saw in Paris; briefly, on a pas de duex he choreographed for Nichols and Milorad Miskovitch to perform at a garden fête in honor of Lady Diana Cooper; Alice Toklas' response to a performance of Cunningham's works at Jean Hélion's studio; they speak about where Cunningham choreographed Two step (1949); reasons for Cunningham's return to the United States, including financial need and the scarcity of inspiring modern dance in Paris; ends abruptly.
Type of Resource
Sound recording
Languages
English
Identifiers
RLIN/OCLC: 913959958
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20732891
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): d87d1180-b8f8-0133-6431-60f81dd2b63c
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 1978: Created (Approximate)
  • 2019: Found by you!
  • 2020

MLA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1978 - 1978. http://digital.gallery.nypl.org/items/dc66dbc0-b8f8-0133-9cd9-60f81dd2b63c

Chicago/Turabian Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 20, 2019. http://digital.gallery.nypl.org/items/dc66dbc0-b8f8-0133-9cd9-60f81dd2b63c

APA Format

Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library. (1978 - 1978). Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16 Retrieved from http://digital.gallery.nypl.org/items/dc66dbc0-b8f8-0133-9cd9-60f81dd2b63c

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url=http://digital.gallery.nypl.org/items/dc66dbc0-b8f8-0133-9cd9-60f81dd2b63c | title= (sound recording) Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16, (1978 - 1978) }} |author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=September 20, 2019 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lennox, and Tilden Foundation}}</ref>

Interview with Merce Cunningham, 1978-06-13/16