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Description
Open reel tapes by electronic music composer Richard Maxfield containing some of his most well-known works.
Background
Richard Maxfield (1927 – 1969) was born in Seattle, Washington. His musical aptitude was revealed at a young age, playing both piano and clarinet as a child, the latter in the Seattle All-Youth Orchestra. He also began composing in high school, largely exploring neoclassical and twelve-tone serialism. After a year in the Navy, he enrolled at Stanford University for one year (where reportedly campus station KZSU played his music) but transferred in 1947 to U.C. Berkeley to study with Roger Sessions after having heard his work on the radio. Graduating in 1951, Maxfield traveled to Europe on a scholarship, where he met Boulez, Stockhausen, and Nono, and was introduced to the electronic tape music which would guide his work from then on. Maxfield also studied with Krenek, Babbitt, Copland, Maderna, and Dallapiccola, but was ultimately influenced the most by the work of John Cage, whom he met through Christian Wolff in 1958. Maxfield would employ chance as a compositional tool, at times drawing strips of tape from a glass bowl, not unlike a bingo game. Richard Maxfield’s music was presented at Fluxus events, the Living Theatre, and other loft performances beginning in the late 1950s. He composed music for dance, and was musical director of the James Waring Dance Company. Maxfield was friend and mentor to Lamonte Young, who performed his works extensively beginning in the early 1960s. Young’s MELA Foundation is custodian for Maxfield’s archive. Outside of composing, Maxfield wrote essays, produced a film (“An Introduction to New Music”), and worked as freelance audio engineer (one regular client was Westminster Records from 1960-1962), but he was far more involved with music education. In fact, New Grove's Dictionary of Music calls him "the first teacher of electronic music techniques in the United States." Maxfield taught at the New School in New York City in 1959 (taking over a class taught by Cage) and later at San Francisco State in 1966 and 1967. He moved to Los Angeles the following year. On June 27, 1969, Richard Maxfield, then 42 years old, jumped out of a window of the Figueroa Hotel.
Extent
1 box(es) 10 open reel tapes
Restrictions
Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.
Availability
Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.