29.05.2021 | Festival

Julius Eastman - Right thought, right music.

The multi-talented Julius Eastman - composer, pianist, singer, dancer - was a border crosser.

as a black man in the white-dominated new music scene of New York, as a deliberately outed gay man in a society that was abundantly homophobic, and as a border crosser of the most diverse musical genres from electronic, minimal, jazz, pop, improv and disco music, minimal, jazz, pop, improv and disco music. The ensemble TRA I TEMPI will present a representative selection of Eastman's compositions in 3 consecutive concerts. The pieces Crazy Nigger, Gay Guerilla and Colors exemplify his critical socio-political stance.


Events at 6pm, 7:30pm and 10pm

How does the African-American composer Julius Eastman come into the Beethoven year? 
Both composers have striking similarities, they did not hide their non-conformist opinions in life or in art, both musical visionaries. Eastman conceived and expanded the concept of minimal music before it was even in vogue, using the expressive palette of a wide range of styles from electronic to disco music, years before "cross over".

1st concert, 18h
Crazy Nigger (1978) for ensemble

2nd concert, 19:30h
Colors (1973) for 14 female voices

Macle (1971) for voices

Buddha (1984) for voices

3rd concert, 22h
Femenine (1974) for ensemble

The titles of the "Nigger Series", which includes the composition "Crazy Nigger", were so controversial that they were suppressed at a performance at Northwestern University in 1980.
The premiere was realised with 4 grand pianos, but Eastman emphasises that he could imagine completely different instruments. TRA I TEMPI becomes multicoloured with flute, clarinet, viola, cello, percussion, piano and voice.
Eastman's music was long lost; as a result of his uncompromising life, he died homeless. Rediscovered sketches and radio recordings have yet to be made performable, like Colors, Buddha and Macle.
In Colors, the voices are grouped by rainbow colours, from orange to purple. Black remains an isolated voice. The sketchy score of "Colors" was transcribed and re-performed by Michael Veltman for TRA I TEMPI.
"Buddha" dates from 1984 and is one of Julius Eastman's last compositions. It consists of a single sheet of music. Oval circled: 
Single notes and melody fragments from the highest to the lowest singable registers. An eye peers from the top left.
"Femenine" - a play with patterns that Eastman calls "organic music". TRA I TEMPI will sink 69 minutes into Femenine's bassline, which the listener will never forget.


Theater im Ballsaal
Frongasse 9
53121 Bonn

Admission prices

€15.00 / Concessions: €9.00
Festival ticket €30.00 / Concessions: €18.00
Group discounts on request

Ticket information

Order tickets:
Theater im Ballsaal
Tel.: +49 228 79 79 01
Fax: +49 228 79 79 02
E-mail: karten@theater-im-ballsaal.de

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