Click HERE for La Monte Young's essay, Notes on The Theatre of Eternal Music & The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys. ( pdf )
Ben Neill, leader of The Theatre of Eternal Music Brass Ensemble, is active both as a trumpeter and composer. He studied Indian classical music and composition with La Monte Young and has led many ensemble performances of Young's work, including for Brass, Composition 1960 #7, and every performance to date of The Melodic Version of The Second Dream of The High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer. As brass section leader of Young's Theatre of Eternal Music Big Band, Neill also performed in the five world premiere concerts of The Lower Map of The Eleven's Division in The Romantic Symmetry (over a 60 cycle base) in Prime Time from 112 to 144 with 119 in 1990.
In 1981 Neill designed the mutantrumpet, an instrument which expands the capabilities of the normal trumpet. It combines two trumpets and a slide making rapid change among a variety of sonorities possible, including glissandi and microtones. The prototype was purchased by the German Museum Bochum in 1990. In 1983 Robert Moog designed an electronic processing system for use with the mutantrumpet; in 1988 David Behrman designed a computer program for Neill to facilitate live computer interaction.
Neill's music incorporates avant-garde, baroque, rock and country-western elements. He has composed for a wide range of instrumental and vocal ensembles, and also performs as a soloist. He has performed with David Behrman, Earle Brown, John Cage, Rhys Chatham, Nicolas Collins, Fast Forward, Petr Kotik, John King and Pauline Oliveros, among others. Neill's music has been recorded on the Ear-Rational, Tellus and New Tone labels. In September 1992 his music/text work DOWNWIND was premiered at the Frankfurt Opera. ITSOFOMO, a major multi-media collaboration with artist/writer David Wojnarowicz, has been performed throughout the U.S. in such venues as The Kitchen, the Walker Art Center, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle. It was released as a CD on New Tone in October 1992. Other recent performances of Neill's music include WNYC New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall in New York, the Helsinki Festival, and the International Chamber Music Festival in Camerino, Italy.
Originally from North Carolina, Neill earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music. He has received grants from Harvestworks, ASCAP, Art Matters, Meet the Composer, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. Neill is currently Music Curator of The Kitchen in New York; he has also been a guest lecturer/performer at the Juilliard School, Columbia University and Mills College.
Charles Curtis has worked with La Monte Young since 1986. He performed the Trio for Strings in the 1987 MELA Foundation La Monte Young 30-Year Retrospective concert, subsequently directing the Theatre of Eternal Music String Ensemble. Curtis worked with The Theatre of Eternal Music Big Band in preparation for the world premiere concerts of The Lower Map of The Eleven's Division in The Romantic Symmetry (over a 60 cycle base) in Prime Time from 112 to 144 with 119. As an improvisor, Curtis has worked regularly with composer/improvisor Michael Schumacher. He has also been associated with rock bands such as King Missile, Dogbowl and Bongwater, as well as with Donald Miller and his improvising trio, Borbetomagus. While on the faculty of Princeton University, Curtis premiered numerous new works by Princeton composers, and worked with graduate composition students on performance issues in new music. An American who currently resides in Hamburg, Curtis is the first solo cellist with the North German Radio Orchestra. He holds the Piatigorsky Prize of the New York Cello Society and has recorded for National Public Radio, the BBC, and Radio Free Berlin.