Occasional Writings

Text pieces (for David Toop)

My first encounter with John Cage changed my life. I had known about Cage from quite an early age. Dr. (“Bud”) Ramsey, the extraordinarily enlightened music master at Goole Grammar School, had told me about the prepared piano and about 4’33” – the so-called silent piece – things which he found interesting, though puzzling.

But it was seeing the Cunningham Company at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1966 that really opened my eyes. I decided that this kind of thing was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.

Vija Celmins: Galaxy no. 1 (Coma Berenices) 1973

Given her birthplace I assumed at first that Celmins’ exquisite drawing was a response to the night sky over the Baltic in the Bay of Riga. However, she seems to have emigrated from Latvia to America aged 10, some 25 years before the drawing was made…

John Berger (Times)

The appearance of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing in 1972 coincided with the beginning of a three-year period when I wrote no music. I was teaching in a Fine Art department at the time and had been inveigled into doing some art history teaching (which I had never done before) by my friend and colleague Fred Orton. Eventually Fred and I taught together a two-year course on the work of Marcel Duchamp.

Modern Painters (Note)

To: Linda Saunders (Modern Painters)


To: Linda Saunders (Modern Painters)

Date: February 29th 1996

Dear Linda,

Thanks for the proof of the article. I think it reads very well and it has benefited from an intelligent and independent eye.

You ask for a short contributor's note "about 20 words". The best I can do is as follows:

Etel Adnan

Written in response to a request in September 2007 from Sara Sehnaoui, Amers Editions, Beyrouth, Lebanon for something on my relationship with Etel Adnan

I’ll start my notes on Etel in a circumlocutory sort of way, and I hope you will forgive this….

Percussions Claviers de Lyon questions

Itw PCL – Gavin Bryars pour Ondes N°3


Joseph Holbrooke Trio: The Moat Studio Recordings


Gavin Bryars - Foreword corrected


Choral music - re questions

Response to Choral questions

Background in choral singing? Family? Own religious/church background? Is that important - now/then?

Globe and Mail total exchanges 2005

Globe and Mail October 1st 2005

For artists abroad, the CBC is the voice of Canada