Oral History Project

Creative Music Foundation, in partnership with Columbia University, is conducting an Oral History Project to gather directly from participants and Guiding Artists anecdotes and insights from their time at CMS

The Creative Music Studio was fertile ground for education and music-making. Musicians from all over the world have credited CMS as some of the most exciting, innovative and important experiences they have had, not only as musicians, but as people. People played and lived together. Lifelong friendships were formed. Tight bonds (and bands!) were created among participants and Guiding Artists. Some even married!

The stories are endless but unfortunately the lives of the storytellers are not. In fact, some of CMS's greatest storytellers, such as Don Cherry or John Cage, have died, and with them their tales about CMS and its impact on their musical careers and lives. So, the Creative Music Foundation, in partnership with Columbia University, is conducting an Oral History Project to gather directly from participants and Guiding Artists anecdotes and insights from their time at CMS. The Oral Histories will be shot on video and transcribed in print for educational and archival purposes. Information from Oral Histories will be used in a CMS documentary, on this website, by Columbia University and in booklets for the CMS Archive Project CD Compilation Series, a co-production of CMF and the American Composer's Forum / Innova Recordings.

Oral Histories have already been conducted with bassist John Lindberg (on David Izenzon), Oliver Lake, Adam Rudolph of the Mandingo Griot Society. With a goal of interviewing 10 - 20 participants or Guiding Artists annually, the CMF Oral History Project is sure to fill a void in the historical retelling of this important and fertile time in music and education.
Creative Music Studio Oral History Project – Selected Interview Transcripts:

(Mp3 and video recordings will be made available pending funding)

Charles Brackeen
Charles was at CMS several times, playing sax and clarinet in a variety of musical groupings. Especially notable were duets with drummer Ed Blackwell, featured in CMS Archive Selection Series, Vol. 1. Unfortunately, CMS was not able to find anyone with knowledge of Charles’s wellbeing or whereabouts. If anyone knows how to contact him, please contact CMS immediately. We want to give him digitized music he made at CMS that was preserved as part of the CMS Archive Project.

Alvin Curran (with Frederic Rzewski, Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso)

Olu Dara

James Emery

Dennis Gonzalez

Steve Gorn

David Izenson (as told by John Lindberg and Karl Berger)

Lee Konitz

Cliff Korman

Oliver Lake (by Dost Kip)

Frederic Rzewski (with Alvin Curran, Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso)

Ismet Siral (as told by Steve Gorn and Karl Berger)

Foday Musa Suso (told by Adam Rudolph conversing with Karl Berger)

Juma Sultan

Marilyn Crispell

Tom Schmidt