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Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner

Photo of Jace Clayton with his head in his hands

Jace Clayton (AKA DJ/Rupture) lends fresh insight into the exhilarating minimalism of the mercurial composer Julius Eastman, in a live performance piece for grand pianos, electronics, and voice.

A companion of John Cage and Morton Feldman in 1960s New York, Julius Eastman mixed canny minimalist innovation with head-on political provocation, and should really be regarded as one of the greats of contemporary composition. Instead he died in poverty, having spent much of his last years homeless and destitute, and with most of his scores lost. 

The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner is built around Clayton’s new arrangements of two of Eastman’s most important piano works – Evil Nigger and Gay Guerrilla. As Clayton live processes the pianos of David Friend and Emily Manzo, he also intersperses musical vignettes – performed by neo-Sufi vocalist Arooj Aftab – to lend context and nuance to the composer's saga, which was cut short in 1990 at the age of 49.

‘It is a supremely Julius-Eastman moment, a short sharp bark of wry laughter fading into dead seriousness, and it caps Clayton's searingly immediate communion with Eastman's vital, contrary spirit.‘

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Watch: The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner - live at MoMA PS1

Jace Clayton's The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner, performed live at MoMA PS1 on April 21, 2013. Featuring pianists David Friend and Emily Manzo, vocalist Arooj Aftab, and special guest Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.

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