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Michael Cuthbert: “Ambiguity, Process, and Information Content in Minimal Music”
Thursday, April 19, 2007 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Recent trends in music composition push bounds by creating pieces which are either more complex or simpler than works of the past. And yet, our ability to understand and be interested in the compositions at these extremes has kept pace. In this talk, Michael Cuthbert will show how simple minimalist processes give rise to highly ambiguous structures, while many of the most complex moments are reducible to easier to comprehend processes. The effect of potentially endless works–including sections of Beethoven symphonies–will generalize the talk to other musical styles and other media. Cuthbert, visiting assistant professor of music at MIT, has worked extensively on fourteenth-century music and on music of the past 40 years. A recipient of the Rome Prize of the American Academy, Cuthbert earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 2006.