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You'll. Get this it is composers for with marking books found. A program where men of music listen to and talk about the music of our time. Our guest on today's program is Jon Watts. Was born in Cleveland. No not Ohio but Tennessee. In 1930 Mr. Watts among other activities has studied at the University of Tennessee. He has a master of music degree from the University of Colorado and a doctorate from the University of Illinois and from Cornell. He has been active as a composer in many media. And also he is the founder and director of one of the most interesting and intriguing musical organizations in New York City. The composer's
theater as it was called for the first few years of its life and the composers and choreographer as theater as it has been called since 1968. We'll be talking with Mr. Watts in just a few moments. Let's begin with the last movement Allegro joyo So for John Watts Sonata for piano the performer is Dean Sanders.
Dean Sanders was the pianist in this performance of the final movement Allegro joyo so from the piano sonata by our guest on today's composers forum John Watts. John I don't know if this thought would have occurred to me had I not known that you were the founder of an organization called composers theatre but the movement we've just heard suggests very much to me atmospheric theatrical effects. I wonder if this movement has ever been choreographed for example it seems to me it would lend itself marvelously well actually it hasn't but I feel sometimes that the pianos think they're being choreographer is when they try to play out. I think it's a formidable problem Ted really has. Yes. I wonder does that kind of and I use the word only in its best sense does that kind of theatrical ism run as a constant thread throughout your musical impulse. Well I don't know that I really like the word theatrical. I did
spend a few years working on children's theater so. I certainly know what makes theater and what doesn't. But I wasn't consciously thinking that way when I wrote the piece. How long ago did you write it. Actually I started sketches for this is early as 1955 but it really wasn't kind of just until 58. Right so it represents what we or for want of a better term I call early. John Watts Well a decade ago middle John Littlejohn Watts Okay I guess the next work that we have scheduled is a more recent work epic cycles which I notice involves some tape construction work right. Is that an ARP synthesizer or is it just created in the studio. It's a combination of synthesizer and type construction which was derived from a previous dance work but used on a TV program.
I see now in your list of credits I noticed that you were the director of the art electronic music program and musical workshops coordinator where I thought new school new school new school in New York right. We've heard so much about the mokes synthesizer How does the arc differ from what it differs and certain respects technically it uses a matrix switching system. I would say eliminates 99 percent of the patch cords that you associated with the mold. Also I think it's more advanced and we're flexible. Some time ago I went back to the mogul I'd started actually first with a mug but I went back to it a couple of months ago and it was something like going from a sports car back to a Model T and Mr mogul forgive me for saying that but I just found it to be that way and working with it again.
And is it the art that's involved in the writing cycles. What else can you tell us before we hear it listing says two derivations from a modern dance or do I infer from that that it has been danced on television and the work itself was not danced on television this was a series of studies based on the work and well let me describe it this way one of the movements has to do with a series of abstract commercials. In other words the choreographer took commercials and abstracted those. Utilizing movement so there is some slight touch some slight memory reference but the people aren't quite sure where the material came from the second was simply a series of empty prompt to poses with dancers popping up all over the studio
that just from the description of it sounds as though it would be extremely exciting visually. You know what I wish we had television facilities and video tape possibilities on this program. Unfortunately we don't. But that's not unfortunate from the point of view of the sound of your work and that after all is what we're concerned with. Let's then hear epic cycles two derivations from a modern dance score epicycles for television and the scoring is tape and tape construction. The composer our guest on today's composers forum John Watts. Why.
I. Met. Yes. You.
Thank you.
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Composers forum
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 72-6-SAMPLE (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Composers forum; Sample,” 1972-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 6, 2023,
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APA: Composers forum; Sample. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from