Feldman, Morton

Feldman, Morton,

1926–87, American modernist composer, b. New York City. An associate of John CageCage, John,
1912–92, American composer, b. Los Angeles. A leading figure in the musical avant-garde from the late 1930s, he attended Pomona College and later studied with Arnold Schoenberg, Adolph Weiss, and Henry Cowell.
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 and other experimental composers, Feldman was part of the so-called New York school. He was also a friend of many of the major painters involved in abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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, and the directness, immediacy, and elements of chance that characterize his work were heavily influenced by their philosophy and work. Among compositions directly inspired by these artists are Rothko Chapel (1971) and For Philip Guston (1984). Also influenced by the visual arts was the new system of graph musical notation Feldman developed in the early 1950s and used until 1960. It employed symbols to indicate such elements as register, interval, and texture and allowed for improvisation. Among his works using graph notation are Projection (1950) and Atlantis (1958). Feldman often concentrated on sound rather than form, and is especially known for his delicate, extremely muted and moody minimalist compositions. During the 1970s his works became much longer in duration, with his String Quartet II (1983) lasting up to six hours. Feldman wrote compositions for orchestra, chorus, solo voices and instruments, and chamber ensembles.


See his collected writings (ed. by B. H. Friedman, 2001) and Morton Feldman Says: Selected Interviews and Lectures 1964–1987 (ed. by C. Villars, 2006); T. Delio, ed., The Music of Morton Feldman (1996); S. Johnson, ed., The New York Schools of Music and the Visual Arts (2001).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Feldman, Morton. "Crippled Symmetry." Res 2 (1981): 91-103.
Feldman, Morton. "Liner Note on For Frank O'Hara." Rothko Chapel: For Frank O'Hara.
(1.) Morton Feldman, Morton Feldman Essays (Wasserburg 13, D-5014 Kerpen: Beginner Press/Walter Zimmerman, 1985), 184.