AER / American Electronics in Rome
50 years of electronic music at the American Academy
in Rome

14 November 2015 – from 5pm
Villa Aurelia – Largo di Porta San Pancrazio 1





Fifty years ago, between 1964 and 1965, the composer John Eaton founded an electronic music studio at the American Academy in Rome. It quickly became a locus of experimentation, public exhibitions and private concerts, marking the beginning of a relationship between electronic music, the American Academy and the city of Rome that continues to this day.

In this context, the Syn-ket, one of the first portable electronic music synthesizers in existence, invented and constructed by the Italian audio engineer Paolo Ketoff, provided the catalyst for a series of fertile exchanges between a talented group of international musicians, including John Eaton, Larry Austin and Alvin Curran. Encouraged by Otto Leuning, Composer-in-Residence at the Academy in 1964-65, these experiments gave rise to a dense network of collaborations that extended into the city of Rome. Austin introduced his Italian colleague Franco Evangelisti to the genre of collective improvisation that the latter would go on to develop with his renown Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza – an open ensemble that included the collaboration of Ennio Morricone and the American Frederic Rzewski, among others. Also in Rome, Rzewski and Curran founded Musica Elettronica Viva, one of the most important live electronics formations worldwide. Morton Subotnik, one of the pioneers of American electronic music, also performed in Rome, proof that the city offered a particularly favorable environment for American musicians and composers as they expanded thelimits of live electronics.

American Electronics in Rome pays tribute to an important chapter in the history of music, but it also explores the repercussions of the experimental approach developed at the Academy, which continue to pervade contemporary electronic music and live performance. The event — scheduled for November 14 at the American Academy in Rome — is composed of afternoon and evening sessions including live performances, DJ sets and a round-table discussion.

AER is a project sponsored by the American Academy in Rome, conceived by NERO and curated by Francesco de Figueiredo and Valerio Mattioli. With the special participation: Nuova Consonanza.

The event has been made possible partly by Andrew W. Imbrie Memorial Fund.



Round-table discussion with: Annie Gosfield, Alvin Curran, Ivan Vandor and Valerio Mattioli.

Performances by: Ceccarelli & Roccato, Teho Teardo, Alvin Curran, Annie Gosfield & Chris Cutler.

Perfomances by: Vipra, Balance, J-Cush, Ron Morelli, Lory D.



Alvin Curran
American composer Alvin Curran arrived in Rome in the 1960s, where, together with fellow Americans Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum, he founded the ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva, which performed actively throughout the decade. Curran went on to construct one of the most idiosyncratic careers in the contemporary scene, straddling minimalism, improvisation and electroacoustic experimentation. Curran recently released a volume entitled The Alvin Curran Fakebook, described by Curran himself as an “autobiography in notated sound.”

Annie Gosfield
An American composer based in New York, Annie Gosfield mines the boundaries between improvisational music, electronics and acoustic sound. Described by the New Yorker as “the star of the Downtown scene,” her records are released by John Zorn’s Tzadilk label. She has collaborated with, among others, Laurie Anderson, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith and Ikue Mori. Her special guest is Chris Cutler, a renowned name from avant-rock circles in England with his band Henry Cow, and founder of the Recommended Records label. He is also one of the most imitated drummers in rock and improvisational music. Annie Gosfield is Paul Fromm Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

The duo Balance emerged out of the collaboration between Luciano Lamanna (Der Noir, Tebno Mobil Squad) and Davide Ricci. Together, they engage in pure improvisation on an enormous modular synthesizer, which dominates the music scene with its abrasive sound with hints ranging from dark ambient to industrial by way of techno.

J-Cush/Lit City Trax
With the artist and performer Fatima Al Qadiri and the duo Nguzunguzu, J-Cush, based in New York, is one of the founders of the project Future Brown, which experiments with the language and fetishes of global capitalism. Since 2011, J-Cush has also been the driving force behind Lit City Trax, one of the best American labels devoted to the new languages of global electronic music, with a range of releases including Dj Rashad, Visionist and Dj Marfox.

Lory D
A key figure in the techno movement in Italy, Lory D is one of the founders of the “Sound of Rome,” the school that, beginning in the 1990s, established Roman techno as one of the most innovative of its kind in Europe. As a Dj, he performed in major international venues, and his records have been released by brands such as Rephlex (the Aphex Twin label), the personal label Sounds Never Seen, and more recently, Numbers, the label of the Scottish dj Jackmaster.

Luigi Ceccarelli / Daniele Roccato
Luigi Ceccarelli (electroacoustic composer and performer, one of the founders of the Edison Studio) and Daniele Roccato (Double Bass player and collaborator with Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars and Sofia Gubaidulina, and founder with Stefano Scodanibbio of the ensemble Ludus Gravis) are together the protagonists of the project X-Traces, an improvisation for Double Bass and electronic performance in real time. Each musician responds in his own way to the acoustic vibrations generated by his partner. Their performance is organized in collaboration with Nuova Consonanza.

Ron Morelli
Ron Morelli is the founder and boss of L.I.E.S., a Brooklyn label, one of the most original of its kind on the electronic scene in the 2000s. The label created a perfect balance between subtle experimentation and dance music. A hub for the New York house and techno communities with punk origins, Morelli, as a musician, also released a series of works with Hospital Productions, the label created by Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient/Vatican Shadow.

Teho Teardo
Musician and composer Teho Teardo made his debut in the industrial-noise scene of the 1980s. He subsequently founded the group Meathead and began to compose music for film scores. He has collaborated with musicians such as Blixa Bargeld (Einsturzene Neubauten), Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound), Mick Harris (Napalm Death, Scorn). He has scored music for films by Paolo Sorrentino, Daniele Vicari, Guido Chiesa and Andrea Molaioli. At the American Academy in Rome, Teardo will present a concert version of Le retour à la raison, his new album, which gathers the scores written for three films by Man Ray.

The Roman duo combines reflections upon accelerationism, the post-internet imaginary and the manipulation of electronic sources. One of the most important links between Italy and debates concerning international contemporary art, Vipra explores the relationship between the individual and new technologies.

14 November 2015 – from 5pm
American Academy in Rome
Villa Aurelia – Largo di Porta San Pancrazio 1