Alvin Curran

Biography

Born: December 13, 1938; Providence, RI  
Alvin Curran is a contemporary American composer whose work incorporates multimedia, visual arts, improvisation, and written music. He studied with Milton Babbitt and Elliott Carter in the early '60s, but by 1965 found himself in Rome as co-founder of the pioneering touring electronic performance group Musica Elettronica Viva, with whom he worked until 1971. During this time, Curran also made significant contact with English composer Cornelius Read more Cardew, whom he assisted, and Italian Giacinto Scelsi, whom Curran regarded as a mentor. After MEV parted company, Curran decided to remain in Rome, where he taught at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica until 1980; the bulk of his work with synthesizer and tapes dates from this time. In 1980, Curran was named the Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, CA, a position he held until his retirement in 2006; Curran also maintained a residence in Rome during these years. Around 1980, Curran's focus began to shift again toward conventional instruments, and with the availability of MIDI technology beginning in the mid-'80s, Curran brought the electronics and installation elements back into his work. Since then he has been involved an extremely eclectic mix of projects, ranging from extended works for piano solo to works like Pozzulana (2005), scored for 10 laptops, 2 drum kits, electric bass, 4 voices, and 12 live instruments.

Curran's output is so varied that it is impossible to come away from his work with a unified impression. However, there is no disputing the care and skill he invests in each creation, and his works have been widely adopted by performers such as Kronos Quartet, The Bang On a Can All-Stars, Yvar Mishakoff, The EAR Unit, Ursula Oppens, and many others. Among the works that have gained him the most acclaim are the series of piano pieces entitled Inner Cities (begun 1991 and ongoing; by 2008 running to 13 in the cycle) and Crystal Psalms (1988) scored for six choruses and six sextets broadcasting from six different European nations, written in observance of the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Curran cites as his personal favorite the piece Schtyx (1992), written for the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio. Read less
Browse 1-16 of 16 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Panorama Of American Piano Music / Yvar Mikhashoff
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 262 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Leo Ornstein,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff
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  • 2.
    Shofar Rags
    Label: Tzadik   Catalog: 8176 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  Alvin Curran,  William Winant,  Arnold Dreyblatt
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  • 3.
    Curran: Schtyx / Abel-steinberg-winant Trio
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 668 Release Date: 11/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  Julie Steinberg,  William Winant,  David Abel,  Dina Weinschelbaum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio
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  • 4.
    Alvin Curran: Solo Works - The 70s
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80713 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  Alvin Curran
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  • 5.
    Dramm: The Stroke That Kills; Beglarian, Curran, Fiday, Matamoros, Johnson / Seth Josel
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80661-2 Release Date: 12/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eve Beglarian,  Alvin Curran,  Michael Fiday,  David Dramm  ... 
    Performer:  Seth Josel
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  • 6.
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28105 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Cliquet-Pleyel,  Jean Wiéner,  Darius Milhaud,  Stefan Wolpe  ... 
    Performer:  Aki Takahashi
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  • 7.
    Curran: Inner Cities / Vandewalle
    Label: Long Distance   Catalog: 560304 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  Daan Vandewalle
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  • 8.
    Curran: Maritime Rites
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80625 Release Date: 10/26/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alvin Curran,  Joseph Celli,  George Lewis
    Performer:  Joseph Celli,  George Lewis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Maritime Sounds And Improvisations Sampled Foghorns
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  • 9.
    Alvin Curran: Lost Marbles
    Label: Tzadik   Catalog: 7097 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
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  • 10.
    Curran: Theme Park, Charlie's Park / William Winant
    Label: Tzadik   Catalog: 7039 Release Date: 11/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  William Winant
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  • 11.
    Time Tracks / Jeanne Golan
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 211 Release Date: 11/19/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Conlon Nancarrow,  Enrique Granados,  Alvin Curran,  Cornelius Cardew  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Golan
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  • 12.
    Mikhashoff Edition 1 - Alvin Curran: For Cornelius, Etc
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 49 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff
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  • 13.
    Cdcm Computer Music Series Vol 17 - Music From Mills College
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2195 Release Date: 03/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran,  Maggi Payne,  Tom Erbe,  Chris Brown  ... 
    Performer:  Chris Brown,  William Winant,  Larry Ochs,  Scot Gresham-Lancaster
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ROOM
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  • 14.
    Alvin Curran: Animal Behavior
    Label: Tzadik   Catalog: 7001 Release Date: 02/28/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  William Winant,  Roy Malan,  Donald Haas,  Peter Wahrhaftig  ... 
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  • 15.
    Curran: Electric Rags Ii / Rova Saxophone Quartet
    Label: New Albion   Catalog: 27 Release Date: 04/05/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alvin Curran
    Performer:  Alvin Curran
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rova Saxophone Quartet
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  • 16.
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: CRC 2195 Release Date: 01/01/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Bischoff,  Chris Brown,  Tom Erbe,  Maggi Payne  ... 
    Performer:  Scot Gresham-Lancaster,  Larry Ochs,  William Winant,  Chris Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ROOM
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Alvin Curran


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