Performance Anxiety and Minimalism

Authored by: Sarah Cahill

The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409435495
eBook ISBN: 9781315613260
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042556


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The biggest challenge to performing minimalist music, for me, involves the audience. Inevitably, there will be at least a few people in the concert hall who think the music is pointless, who start shifting in their seats, who can’t wait for it to be over. My own father is such a person. He emailed me not long ago:

Just now I watched the YouTube video of you and five other pianists playing Julius Eastman’s Gay Guerilla [1979] at the Berkeley Art Museum. I stayed with it for the whole time, wondering, ‘Is he really going to keep this up for a half-hour?’ I hated to think of you and the other pianists spending time rehearsing and performing this.

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