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This project was successfully funded on December 18, 2017

World Premiere Recording of James Tenney's "Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps"

by Adrian Tenney


Help us create a professional recording of James Tenney's groundbreaking composition Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps after the world premiere on 11/11/17.

When my father, composer James Tenney, died in 2006, he had created several written but unrecorded pieces of music. We now have the rare opportunity to record one of the most epic pieces he ever wrote: Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps, shortly after the world premiere performance, presented by The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS) in Los Angeles on November 11, 2017. This performance, and the 50 hours of rehearsal time necessary for the seven artists to prepare has already been funded, however, we still need to raise $22,000 to be able to send the musicians into the recording studio very soon after this performance. If we wait any longer to record, we will have to start from scratch, paying the artists for 50 hours of rehearsal time all over again. In order to sustain the legacy of James Tenney, his work must be recorded, as the written scores alone reach a very small audience. Our ability to record such a nuanced composition renders Tenney’s work more broadly accessible, a finally complete and archived work, so that audiences for years to come may listen, learn, and be inspired. Your help is needed! A gift of absolutely any amount, no matter how small, will help us out enormously.

Tenney with Ruggles and Schneemann

Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps, is played by six harps that are all tuned a tiny bit differently...or a sixth of a semitone apart. Each octave contains 72 pitches. None of the harps can play the same notes as each other, so what you hear (if you close your eyes and imagine) is one enormous harp! Each of the 64 studies represents one of the hexagrams from the ancient Chinese divination text, the I Ching (Book of Changes). Much of the piece uses a technique called hocketing which is one of the reasons the piece sounds super interesting, and also why it's impossible for the musicians to rehearse on their own. The six talented harpists (led by Grammy Award-winning musician Alison Bjorkedal) will need to rehearse the three-hour piece together, building trust and learning to listen to one another in order for the music to sound the way it is intended to sound.

Although we need $22,000 to complete the project, and we are applying for various recording grants, we are grateful to have already received lots of support! CalArts is granting us access to free recording studio space during the weekend of November 23-26, and the incredible Grammy Award-winning John Baffa of TV Tray Studio will be our engineer. The studio recording is possible at this time only because SASSAS, with support from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts and the Michael Asher Foundation, has funded over ten rehearsals and two performances, including the world premiere, readying the performers to make the recording. And New World Records has confirmed that they will release the album as a 3-CD set in 2018! All we need to do is create the recording. If we are able to reach our goal of $22,000 by November 26 we will be able to cover the costs of: artist fees and hospitality during recording, instrument transportation, mixing and mastering the recording, and more, but we won't be able to do this without your support. Tenney and Lejaren Hiller, University of Illinois Electronic Music Laboratory, 1961

It is important for us to make a professional studio recording of James Tenney’s Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps so that it can be accessible for people all over the world to listen, to learn and to be inspired by this music. We want to continue to present his life's work to students, audiences, and listeners, and to the world. If you have the means to make a contribution of any amount to this project we would be so grateful.

Thank you for considering,

Adrian Tenney

James Tenney: Music Playlist

James Tenney: On Film Playlist

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