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Richard Maxfield (1927-1969)

Richard Maxfield, composerRichard Maxfield was a composer of instrumental, electro-acoustic, and electronic music. Born in Seattle, WA he began composing in high school. He later enrolled at Stanford University, but shortly transferred to U.C. Berkeley in 1947 to study with Roger Sessions, whose work he had developed a great admiration for. After graduating in 1951, Maxfield traveled to Europe, where he was introduced to Boulez, Stockhausen, Nono, and crucially electronic tape music for the first time. He composed instrumental scores in a Neo-Classical style, and then adopted 12-tone techniques, eventually studying at Princeton University with Milton Babbitt. Maxfield also studied with Krenek, Copland, Maderna, and Dallapiccola. It was the work of John Cage however, who Maxfield met in 1958, that had the biggest influence on the composer. Maxfield began to adopt Cage's technique of chance operations during composition, sometime selecting strips of tape from a bowl at random to splice together. However, unlike other composers who used chance when composing, Maxfield often later edited works according to his taste. Along with his mentee La Monte Young, Maxfield co-curated early Fluxus concerts in New York, and also presented his works at the Living Theatre, and other New York City loft performances (notably Yoko Ono's loft) beginning in the late 1950s. Outside of composing, Maxfield was significantly involved in music education. New Grove's Dictionary of Music calls him "the first teacher of electronic music techniques in the United States." Maxfield taught at the New School in New York City in 1959 (taking over a class taught by Cage) and later at San Francisco State in 1966 and 1967. Maxfield's life was cut tragically short on June 27, 1969, when the composer, then 42 years old, committed suicide by jumping out of a window at the Figueroa Hotel in Los Angeles.
 ~ Stanford University Libraries


COMPOSITIONS                                                            Maxfield Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
Suite, orchestra (1945)
Piano Sonata No. 1 (1947)
Theme, Variations and Finale, piano (1948?)
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1948/49)
Sonata No. 1 in G, violin and piano (194950)
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1950) [4 mvts]
Sonata [No. 1], clarinet and piano (pub. 1954)
Symphony, string orchestra (1951) ["op. 15"]
String Trio (1951) ["op. 16"]
Structures, 10 winds [picc, fl, ob, Eng hn, cl, bsn, hn, tpt, trom, bass trom] (1951) [5:17]
Six Little Pieces, piano 4-hands (1952) ["op. 17"]
Sonata, piano 4-hands (1952) ["op. 18"]
Solo Flute Sonata (1952?; pub. 1954) ["op. 19"]
Sonata No. 2, clarinet and piano (1952-53)
Duo II, violin and clarinet (pub. 1954) ["Duet"] [13:00]
Sonata for Violin Unaccompanied (pub. 1954)
Composition, violin and piano (1954?)
Composition, clarinet and piano (1956)
Variations, string quartet (1956) [4:19]
Two Psalms, tenor, clarinet and cello (1957)
Sine Music (A Swarm of Butterflies Encountered on the Ocean), tape (1958) [6:02]
Stacked Deck, opera, voices and tape (1958) [text: Dick Higgins]
Five Movements, orchestra (1959) [winner of the 1959 Gershwin Prize]
Cough Music, tape (1959) [5:54] ["Cough Music III"???]
Cunamble, tape (1959?)
Pastoral Symphony, tape (1959) [4:03]
White Noise Piece, tape (1959)
Trinity Piece, tape (1960) [4:50]
Perspectives, violin and tape (1960)
Amazing Grace, tape (1960) [3:26]
Fermentation, tape (1960) [8:56]
Night Music, tape (1960) [9:10]
Italian Folk Music, tape (1960)
Peripateia, saxophone, violin and tape (1959-61) [21:00?] [for dance piece by James Waring/Judson Dance Theater]
Wind, saxophone and tape (1961) [25:00] [for Terry Jennings]
Clarinet Music, 5 clarinets and 5 tapes (1961) [?"for two or more clarinets and tape"?]
Dromenon, dance, lighting, flute, saxophone, piano, vibraphone, violin, double bass and tape (1961)
    - also "Concert Suite" from ballet "Dromenon" [during which La Monte Young determined to set a violin on fire]
Perspectives II for La Monte Young, violin, unspecified string and tape (1961) [9:22]
Piano Concert for David Tudor, piano and tape (1961) [12:29]
Dishes, tape (1961)
Radio Music, tape (1961)
Steam, tape (1961)
Toy Symphony, flute, violin, toys, wooden boxes, ceramic vase and tape (1962)
Bacchanale, tape (1963)
Bhagavad Gita Symphony, tape (1963)
Garden Music, tape (1963)
Electric Symphony, tape (1964)
For Sonny Wilson, tape (c.1966) [2:27]
Bacchanale II, tape (1966)
Dream, tape (1967)
Venus Impulses, tape (1967)


WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Maxfield Links     ~ top of page ~
Dramatic/Theater
Stacked Deck, opera, voices and tape (1958) [text: Dick Higgins]
Peripateia, saxophone, violin and tape (1959-61) [21:00?] [for dance piece by James Waring/Judson Dance Theater]
Dromenon, dance, lighting, flute, saxophone, piano, vibraphone, violin, double bass and tape (1961)

Orchestra
Suite, orchestra (1945)
Symphony, string orchestra (1951) ["op. 15"]
Five Movements, orchestra (1959) [winner of the 1959 Gershwin Prize]

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra or Tape
Piano Concert for David Tudor, piano and tape (1961) [12:29]

Chamber
String Trio (1951) ["op. 16"]
Structures, 10 winds [picc, fl, ob, Eng hn, cl, bsn, hn, tpt, trom, bass trom] (1951) [5:17]
Duo II, violin and clarinet (pub. 1954)
Variations, string quartet (1956) [4:19]
Peripateia, saxophone, violin and tape (1960) [21:00?] [for dance piece by James Waring/Judson Dance Theater]
Clarinet Music, 5 clarinets and 5 tapes (1961)
Dromenon, dance, lighting, flute, saxophone, piano, vibraphone, violin, double bass and tape (1961)
    - also "Concert Suite" from ballet "Dromenon" [during which La Monte Young determined to set a violin on fire]
Perspectives II for La Monte Young, violin, unspecified string and tape (1961) [9:22]
Toy Symphony, flute, violin, toys, wooden boxes, ceramic vase and tape (1962)

Instrument and Piano
Sonata No. 1 in G, violin and piano (194950)
Sonata [No. 1], clarinet and piano (pub. 1954)
Sonata No. 2, clarinet and piano (1952-53)
Composition, violin and piano (1954?)
Composition, clarinet and piano (1956)

Solo Instrument
Sonata for Violin Unaccompanied (pub. 1954)
Perspectives, violin and tape (1960)
Wind, saxophone and tape (1960) [1962?] [for Terry Jennings]

Piano
Piano Sonata No. 1 (1947)
Theme, Variations and Finale, piano (1948?)
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1948/49) [10:06]
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1950) [4 mvts]
Six Little Pieces, piano 4-hands (1952) ["op. 17"]
Sonata, piano 4-hands (1952) ["op. 18"]

Vocal
Two Psalms, tenor, clarinet and cello (1957)

Electronic
Sine Music (A Swarm of Butterflies Encountered on the Ocean), tape (1958) [6:02]
Stacked Deck, opera, voices and tape (1958) [text: Dick Higgins]
Cough Music, tape (1959) [5:54] ["Cough Music III"???]
Cunamble, tape (1959?)
Pastoral Symphony, tape (1959) [4:03]
White Noise Piece, tape (1959)
Trinity Piece, tape (1960) [4:50]
Perspectives, violin and tape (1960)
Amazing Grace, tape (1960) [3:26]
Fermentation, tape (1960) [8:58]
Night Music, tape (1960) [9:10]
Italian Folk Music, tape (1960)
Peripateia, saxophone, violin and tape (1959-61) [21:00?] [for dance piece by James Waring/Judson Dance Theater]
Wind, saxophone and tape (1961) [25:00] [for Terry Jennings]
Clarinet Music, 5 clarinets and 5 tapes (1961) [?"for two or more clarinets and tape"?]
Dromenon, dance, lighting, flute, saxophone, piano, vibraphone, violin, double bass and tape (1961)
    - also "Concert Suite" from ballet "Dromenon" [during which La Monte Young determined to set a violin on fire]
Perspectives II for La Monte Young, violin, unspecified string and tape (1961) [9:22]
Piano Concert for David Tudor, piano and tape (1961) [12:29]
Dishes, tape (1961)
Radio Music, tape (1961)
Steam, tape (1961)
Toy Symphony, flute, violin, toys, wooden boxes, ceramic vase and tape (1962)
Bacchanale, tape (1963) [8:14]
Bhagavad Gita Symphony, tape (1963)
Garden Music, tape (1963)
Electric Symphony, tape (1964)
Bacchanale II, tape (1966)
Dream, tape (1967)
Venus Impulses, tape (1967)
For Sonny Wilson, tape (????) [2:27]


MAXFIELD  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~
Electric Richard Maxfield (Charles Amirkhanian, Internet Archive/RadiOM)
The Story of Richard Maxfield (Diane Wakoski, Jstor.org)

Composer website [none at the moment]        . . . inquire about Richard Maxfield: here

Maxfield @ Wikipedia
Maxfield @ Wikipedia.de (in German)
Maxfield @ Acousmata
Maxfield @ allmusic
Maxfield @ All Music Guide to Electronica (Vladimir Bogdanov, Backbeat Books, books.google.com)
Maxfield @ Another World of Sound    also     here
Maxfield @ Arcane Candy
Maxfield @ ARCHIVEGRID
Maxfield @ The Best American Poetry
Maxfield @ CEC/Canadian Electroacoustic Community
Maxfield @ Classical Net
Maxfield @ ClassicsToday
Maxfield @ Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music (Elliott Schwartz, et al, Da Capo/books.google.com)
Maxfield @ diagonal thoughts
Maxfield @ Facebook
Maxfield @ Fusetron
Maxfield @ The Harvard Crimson
Maxfield @ Leonard Stein Collection,UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections
Maxfield @ MELA Foundation    also     here
Maxfield @ MEMIM
Maxfield @ Mimaroglu Music Sales
Maxfield @ New World Records    also    here
Maxfield @ The New York Times
Maxfield @ Online Archive of California/California Digital Library    also    here
Maxfield @ Our God Is Speed
Maxfield @ Paris Transatlantic/Charles Curtis Interview
Maxfield @ Root Blog
Maxfield @ The San Francisco Tape Music Center
Maxfield @ SNAC (The Social Networks and Archival Context Project)/Dick Higgins
Maxfield @ Soundohm
Maxfield @ SoNHoRS
Maxfield @ Stanford University/Richard Maxfield Collection  also  here
Maxfield @ Stewart Home Society/The Assault of Culture

Publisher
Maxfield's tapes are in the La Monte Young Archives of the Dia Art Foundation, New York
    - these(?) or others(?) may now be found at Stanford University/Richard Maxfield Collection - see above
Maxfield @ Independent Music Publishers

Streaming Audio
Maxfield @ Acousmata
Maxfield @ diagonal thoughts
Maxfield @ 14tracks.com
Maxfield @ Internet Archive
Maxfield @ Internet Archive/RadiOM
Maxfield @ last.fm
Maxfield @ RadiOM    also    here
Maxfield @ Rhapsody

Recordings
Maxfield @ ArkivMusic
Maxfield @ Discogs
Maxfield @ New World Records

Video
Maxfield @ YouTube
Maxfield @ Google Video

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