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Julius Eastman's 1980 residency at Northwestern University

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  • "Post-minimalist American composer Julius Eastman's residency at Northwestern University in 1980 provides a rare opportunity to mitigate, if not eliminate, the problems involved in defining his compositional style. Eastman occupies a complex and unlikely position in late twentieth-century music as an openly gay, African-American composer of serious art music who both a member of the Creative Associates at SUNY Buffalo as well as participated in the diverse musical culture of Downtown New York. Eastman's surviving scores are notated in a fragmentary and idiosyncratic fashion and the composer's outrageous personality left few people with whom he worked closely or on a regular basis. However, scores of three of Eastman's works survive. Crazy Nigger , Evil Nigger , and Gay Guerilla were performed on January 16, 1980, as the culmination of Eastman's residency at Northwestern. Eastman's use of inflammatory was influenced by the political timeframe of their composition, particularly black cultural narratives and the state of gay rights conflict in the era between Stonewall and the AIDS crisis. Drawing upon newspaper reports, early scholarship on Eastman's biography, and interviews with concert participants, this thesis documents the rehearsal process and the controversy surrounding the titles of the works. For Members Only, the black student organization at Northwestern, protested advertisements of the concert in the midst of their own conflict with the student government."

  • "Julius Eastman's 1980 residency at Northwestern University"