20:00 Kukuruz Quartet
21:15 Beverly Glenn-Copeland
The American-Canadian transgender man Beverly Glenn-Copeland, born in 1944, released a psychedelic folk record in 1970 with an element of jazz and vocals reminiscent of Tim Buckley. The follow-up “Keyboard Fantasies”, an ambient new-age pop solo recording with vocals, synthesizer, and drum computer, was not released until 1986. Both albums were recently re-released and brought his name to the international scene. For the last 30 years, Glenn-Copeland has mainly been working as a composer and actor for children’s television (including on Sesame Street). He only started performing again a few years ago; last year he performed with the Queer Songbook Orchestra and is now coming to Europe for a few concerts. With a five-member ensemble, he is reopening his musical story, which most people have only just discovered, but which will not be forgotten again so quickly.
The Kukuruz Quartet from Zurich is dedicated to the music of Julius Eastman, a minimal music composer whose story has attracted great attention in recent years. As a homosexual black man born in 1940, Eastman was an exception in a purely white domain like the minimal music scene of the 1970s, led by Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley. Eastman worked with John Cage, sang on Meredith Monk’s “Dolmen Music”, and conducted for Arthur Russell. He gave his compositions for four pianos titles like “Evil Nigger”, “Crazy Nigger”, and “Gay Guerrilla”. He ultimately fell out with John Cage, who said in a memorable talk about Eastman: “His ego is closed in homosexuality. And we know this because he has no other ideas”. His downward spiral into alcohol and drugs began in the early 1980s; Eastman became homeless and died in 1991, lonely, impoverished, and forgotten by the music world. It is only in the last few years that his name has suddenly re-emerged and his music has been discovered and performed by a new generation of musicians. The Kukuruz Quartet has just released a CD with recordings of Eastman’s compositions for four pianos; from these, they will be playing “Evil Nigger” (ca. 22 min.) and “Gay Guerrilla” (ca. 30 min.), both from 1979, at the Dampfzentrale Bern.