Wednesday night you better hop on the Green Line and get out to College Park because UMD’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is hosting a seriously cool event: Electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick will be preforming his 1967 composition Silver Apples from the Moon.
Subotnick is currently an artist-in-residence at the school, but he’s best know for pushing the boundaries of music since way back in the sixties. Given that completely electronic compositions are now nearly the standard in pop music (and we live in a world where digital avatars of dead rappers are built to entertain us), it’s easy to forget what a fringe endeavor this type of music still was just 50 years ago.
While Subotnick wasn’t the first in this field by a long shot—tape music and musique concrète was being made since the 1920s—he was still one of the first to use an analog synthesizer. The piece being performed on Wednesday uses a Buchla Music Box, which, along with the Moog, is one of the earliest pieces or technology that let musicians create and manipulate electronic sounds in real-time. Also of note: With its bits of melody, variety of textures, and quick, sustained rhythm, Silver Apples of the Moon leans closer to pop and classical timbres and structures than most other compositions being produced at the time—it even became a best seller. Within it’s half-hour run time you can hear the embryotic bits of music to come, from the synth lines of Kraftwerk, to the percussion of Gary Numan, to the textures of Dan Deacon.
And if that’s not reason enough to come out, the show will be accompanied by live projection art by media specialist Lillevan. Show starts at 8:00, free?