The Poet of Experimental Music:
You can see a brown decorated vase in the center and right behind it a person playing a cello
Celebrating Alvin Lucier’s 90 Birthday
Fri, May 14, 2021 8 pm CEST, Concert
Language: German

World premiere of the new Alvin Lucier work »Adagio for Strings« as well as publication of historical recordings of »I am sitting in a room« and presentation of the latest and expanded edition of the book »Reflections«.

Since the mid-1960s, Alvin Lucier has produced a number of important compositions that have had a lasting impact on the culture of experimental music and sound art. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, the ZKM is playing him a very special serenade: In honor of the sound artist and 2020 Giga-Hertz Prize winner, a new work by Lucier will premiere on ZKM's audiovisual livestream on May 14, 2021.

The piece was produced at ZKM in April 2021 with instrumentalists from the Ever Present Orchestra, which is dedicated to performing the music of Alvin Lucier. The ZKM is also involved in the processing of 90 artists' contributions as part of the Issue Project Room event in New York in honor of Lucier's birthday.

Within a one-hour expert talk about the musical poet in the context of the virtual event, besides the presentation of the latest issue of »Reflections«, a new 3LP+2CD boxset will also be presented, containing historical recordings of »I am sitting in a room«, including the recording of a digital version of the masterpiece conceived by Johannes Goebel and realized in 2000 at the ZKM in the context of the exhibition »net_condition«.

The event is held in German. The talk on Alvin Lucier is subtitled in English, please activate the subtitles via the gear icon in the video frame.

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Time zone: CEST

  8 pmDiscussion »On Key Concepts of Alvin Lucier's Musical Thought«
  9 pm   World Premiere Alvin Lucier »Adagio for Strings« (2021), 51'18''


Alvin Lucier »Adagio for Strings« (2021), 51'18''

In »Adagio for Strings« I simply took the Adagio section from Mozart’s Streichquartett Nr. 19 in C-Dur (KV 465) »Dissonanzenquartett« and subjected it to the recycling process I developed in my work »I am sitting in a room«. The quartet plays the introduction once live. Its recording is then recycled through eight rooms of the ZKM | Karlsruhe individually which are then layered on top of each other. The idea is a further extension of the first digital multi-room solo performance I did of »I am sitting in a room« in 2000 at ZKM | Karlsruhe adapted from a concept by Johannes Goebel. However, how this piece differs from the solo version is that I have created an architectural delay system: the original room that the string quartet recorded in, the ZKM_Cube, is the first to be heard, the second room heard is the next closest to that room in distance, continuing likewise until the final room heard is the furthest away from the original, recorded space. »Adagio for Strings« was written expressly for members of the Ever Present Orchestra and with gratitude to ZKM | Karlsruhe (and Sebastian Schottke, sound director of the Hertz-Lab at ZKM) for all of their support in celebrating my 90th birthday.

Words: Alvin Lucier


Bernhard Rietbrock (Scientific Assistant at the Institute for Music Research, ZHdK & Founder and Artistic Director of the Ever Present Orchestra)
Jan Thoben (Program Director of Sound Studies and Sonic Arts, UdK Berlin & Artistic Director of the Ever Present Orchestra) 
Gisela Gronemeyer (Editor MusikTexte)
Prof. Dr. Sabine Sanio (Professor of Sound Studies and Sonic Arts, UdK Berlin)
Prof. hans w. koch (Professor of Sound, KHM Köln) 


Lucy Railton (Violoncello, Ever Present Orchestra)
Christina Moser (Violin, Ever Present Orchestra)
Rebecca Thies (Violin, Ever Present Orchestra)
Yodfat Miron (Viola) 


Prof. Ludger Brümmer (Composer, Head of ZKM | Hertz-Lab & Professor of Composition for Digital Media, HfM Trossingen) 

The Event via Livestream

ZKM | Hertz-Lab

Yannick Hofmann
Artistic Director

Dominik Kautz
Project & Production Management 

Sebastian Schottke
Sound Director

Jakob Schreiber 
Assistant Sound Director

ZKM | Video Studio

Christina Zartmann
Moritz Büchner
Xenia Leidig
Andy Koch
Peter Müller
Tim Wenz
Hauke Jörgensen

ZKM | Communication & Marketing

Dominika Szope
Head of ZKM | Communication & Marketing

Lena Becker, Adamantia Goulandris, Lara Hetterling, Sabine Jäger, Lena Schneider
Homepage and Communication

Adrian Koop

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe

The event takes place within the frame of the project EASTN-DC, co-funded by the »Creative Europe Programme« of the European Union.