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date: 20 August 2019

Vierk, Lois V.locked

  • Kyle Gann

Extract

(b Lansing, IL, Aug 4, 1951). American composer. Originally interested in ethnomusicology, she attended UCLA (BA 1974), where she studied bugaku dance and fell in love with gagaku, the ancient Japanese music that accompanies it. She studied composition with Leonard Stein and Dean Drummond, and later with Mel Powell and Morton Subotnick at the California Institute of the Arts (MFA 1978). A member of UCLA’s gagaku ensemble until 1982, she accompanied the group to Japan in 1980. There she met ryuteki player Sukeyasu Shiba, whom she returned to study with from 1982 to 1984.

Partly through the influence of minimalism (particularly Niblock’s music) and partly through the heterophonic melody of gagaku, Vierk began to write music for multiples of the same instrument. Her first work to receive public attention, Go Guitars (1981, ‘Go’ meaning ‘five’ in Japanese), is structured around a continuum of small glissandos that gradually expand in length and tempo. She followed this with ...

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Contemporary Music Review