Merce Cunningham 1919-2009

by Jonathan on July 27, 2009

Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham passed away yesterday at the age of 90. Cunningham was an American choreographer who was at the forefront of the American avante-guard for more than 50 years. In 2003, Radiohead and Sigur Rós collaborated with him on his Split Sides project. Both bands played for about 20 minutes while the dancers, who had not heard the music beforehand, danced. Here’s a review of the show if you’re interested.

The band posted on Dead Air Space today with their memories:

We are very sad to hear about Merce Cunningham’s death yesterday, aged ninety.
Merce invited us to take part in his Split Sides project, in October 2003. It was a collaboration of music and dance, but one where each of the elements – set, costume, choreography and music – were randomly combined, to create a performance around chance. He was very kind and hospitable, and invited us around to his apartment the night before the show. He showed us his computer program which generated random sequences of gesture and movement for wire-framed mannequins, like Kraftwerk’s Robots. He also showed us, the next night, that discipline and focus can create the space for an unexpected moment, when something new can suddenly exist: such a contrast to the scripted world of rock.

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  • pantrus

    we went to the Split Sides project_it was beautiful_

    i didn t know much about Merce Cunningham but this is enough to understand how great he was . . .

    He also showed us, the next night, that discipline and focus can create the space for an unexpected moment, when something new can suddenly exist

    que descanse en paz . . .

    ps: last night [ this is truth ] someone almost killed us in a car rude situation_my car is destroyed_the person had no insurance and run away from the scene_ this i am saying it is by no means a revenge to what happened but i truly recommend great people with ” nice things inside of them ” not to live here in miami where everyone seem to be so empty and fake and rude _please let everyone around the world know !

  • Diana

    R.I.P. Merce Cunningham

  • PsychedelicRonin

    I thought I would find news about Radiohead and not from radiohead.

  • Frank

    PsychedelicRonin, are you suggesting Radiohead killed Merce Cunningham? Haha…

  • stella

    he and john cage did some great work together, sad to see him go.

  • James

    Radiohead’s contribution to Split Sides was quite special – a lengthy improvisation with computers and electronics unlike anything they’ve done before. I’d recommend to for fans of Kid A to look up.

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