This Life of Sounds by Renee Levine Packer chronicles the history of the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (CCPA) at the State University of New York at Buffalo, founded in 1964 by composer and conductor Lukas Foss. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the CCPA’s sixteen-year history, highlighting the Center’s unique approach to music-making and the lasting impact it had on the contemporary music scene.
The Birth of an Idea:
Packer begins the book by detailing how Lukas Foss conceived the idea for the CCPA as a laboratory for composers, performers, and technicians to experiment and create new forms of music. She notes how the Center’s foundation was built on Foss’s vision of a collaborative community that would explore different forms of music and cross-disciplinary collaborations, such as with poets, dancers, filmmakers, and visual artists. Packer provides insights into the various workshops, concerts, and commissions that the CCPA organized, which encouraged experimentation and allowed for cross-genre influences to emerge.
The Creative Community:
The book provides an in-depth examination of the CCPA’s creative community, detailing the contributions of its faculty and students. Many of whom went on to become influential composers, performers, and educators in their own right. Packer weaves together interviews and personal anecdotes to paint a vivid picture of the CCPA’s experimental ethos. The various personalities that shaped the Center’s culture. This includes the collaborations between composers and performers. Such as the work of Morton Feldman and David Tudor, and the influence of John Cage on the CCPA’s aesthetics.
One of the key contributions of the CCPA was its role in developing electronic music. Packer provides an engaging overview of how the Center became a hub for the development of electronic music. Providing access to new technologies and fostering a generation of composers who would become leaders in the field. She notes how the CCPA’s embrace of electronic music was a break from traditional music-making and helped to redefine contemporary music.
Impact on American Music:
Packer’s book demonstrates how the CCPA’s influence extended far beyond Buffalo. Shaping the direction of contemporary music and inspiring a new generation of composers and performers. She details the Center’s impact on American music. Providing examples of how the CCPA’s experimentation influenced the development of minimalism, post-modernism. Other contemporary styles. The book also notes the CCPA’s role in breaking down barriers between different genres of music. And how its influence can be see in the work of artists such as Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson.
This Life of Sounds is an engaging and informative book. That provides a comprehensive overview of the CCPA’s history and its lasting impact on contemporary music. Packer’s writing is clear and engaging, providing a detailed examination of the Center’s experimental ethos. The many personalities that shaped it. The book also provides insights into the various collaborations and cross-disciplinary projects. That the CCPA fostered, providing a valuable resource for those interested in contemporary music. Overall, This Life of Sounds is a must-read for anyone interest in the history of American music. And the creative communities that shaped it.