MELA Foundation News  

April 3, 2002

La Monte Young
Trio for Strings (1958) in String Octet Version (1984)
MELA Foundation Dream House
275 Church Street, 3rd Floor
Performed by OSSIA

Sunday, April 21, 8 and 10 pm
Admission $24
Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended.

A special octet version (1984) of La Monte Young's Trio for Strings from 1958 will be presented in an Avant-Premiere performance by OSSIA on Sunday, April 21, 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment at 275 Church Street, New York City.

The Trio for Strings is the first work Young composed which is comprised almost entirely of long sustained tones, and it is probably his most important early musical statement. This work has been widely credited by critics, musicologists and art historians with the initiation of a new direction in music and art, since no one had ever before made a work that was composed completely of sustained tones. It is an extremely difficult work to perform, requiring special performance practices to master the skill of sustaining long tones and intervals. Young has created this octet version in part to produce a realization of the work that can be more perfectly in tune and more sustained in character than the original trio version.

OSSIA is the acclaimed new music group based in Rochester, New York, dedicated exclusively to contemporary music. OSSIA takes its name from the score marking that indicates a musical alternative. The group provides alternatives for the performance of new music and for the education of musicians. Founded in 1997, the organization of student-musicians draws its members from the student body of the Eastman School of Music. OSSIA has presented works by John Cage, Arvo Part, Steve Reich, Giacinto Scelsi and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. The members' commitment to the organization comes from an enthusiasm for new music and a dedication to performing and producing it at the highest level.

This version of the Trio for Strings is scored for two violins, two violas, two cellos and two contrabasses. The OSSIA performers are Caleb Burhans and Heather Gardner, violins, John Richards and Justin Caulley, violas, Christopher Dingstad and Kevin McFarland, cellos, Ike Sturm and Justin McCulloch, basses. Alan Pierson is performing as rehearsal coach; Phillip Palmer and Jeremy Grimshaw are producer and assistant producer of the concerts. The ensemble is also receiving special instruction in performance practice for the Trio during several intensive rehearsals with La Monte Young at MELA Foundation in New York City. The concerts are co-produced by MELA Foundation and the Professional Development Fund of the Eastman School of Music.

Admission $24 / $18 MELA members; seniors; students with ID. Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended. For further information:

The New York City performance will be followed by the Rochester performance of the octet version, to be presented by OSSIA on Monday, April 29, at 8:00 pm in Christ Church, 141 East Avenue, Rochester, New York 14604.

MELA Foundation, 275 Church Street, New York, NY 10013, USA, 212-925-8270

MELA's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

Press Comment on Trio for Strings by La Monte Young

"The Trio for Strings is undoubtedly Young's most important composition of this period, and the work which firmly establishes his place as the first composer to discover a truly minimalist language and to develop it in a totally individual way." - Keith Potter, "Four Musical Minimalists," Cambridge University Press, 2000, P. 40.

"During the summer of 1958 [Young] composed his first mature composition, the Trio for Strings - a landmark in the history of twentieth century music and the virtual fountainhead of American musical minimalism." - K. Robert Schwarz, "Minimalists," Phaidon Press, 1996, P. 23.

"Despite its Serial underpinnings, nothing like Young's Trio for Strings had ever been heard in Western music, a piece constructed exclusively of sustained tones and silences. …Young is now widely recognized as the originator of the most influential classical musical style of the final third of the twentieth century." - Edward Strickland, "Minimalism:Origins," Indiana University Press, 1993, P. 121, 122.


[Pandit Pran Nath] [La Monte Young] [Marian Zazeela]
[MELA Foundation] [The Kirana Center]
[The MELA Store] [Home Page] [Links] [Contact]