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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