Amy Knoles plays the music of Julius Eastman

Amy Knoles plays the music of Julius Eastman

Goddard College

Courtesy of Goddard College.
September 21, 2013
Amy Knoles plays the music of Julius Eastman

Goddard College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program presents a free performance:
Crazy Nigger—Amy Knoles Plays the Music of Julius Eastman. Also featuring dancer Michael Sakamoto.

Goddard College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program (MFAIA) presents a free performance of African-American composer Julius Eastman’s legendary composition Crazy Nigger (1978), arranged and performed by electronic percussionist Amy Knoles, and featuring choreographer-dancer Michael Sakamoto, co-director of Goddard’s MFAIA program at 7pm Monday, September 23, at Fort Worden’s JFK Hall in Port Townsend.

The performance is presented during the twice-annual residency week that kicks off every low-residency semester in the MFAIA program. For more information about the concert or MFAIA, please contact [email protected], or go online at

Julius Eastman was a gay, African-American performer and composer in the 1970s and ’80s New York contemporary music scene who broke cultural boundaries onstage and off. Eastman premiered his own compositions and worked with classical, jazz, and new music artists as diverse as John Cage, Meredith Monk, Lukas Foss, and many others. His extraordinary artistic vision and performance skill as singer and instrumentalist made him a singular and significant figure in minimalist and postmodern music.

Eastman, who died on May 28, 1990, explained his use of the controversial racial term for the title of his piece: “The first niggers were, of course, field niggers, and upon that is really the basis of what I call the American economic system. Without field niggers, you wouldn’t really have such a great and grand economy that we have…. And what I mean by niggers is that thing which is fundamental; that person or thing that attains to a basicness, a fundamentalness, and eschews that which is superficial, or, can we say, elegant.”

Amy Knoles is one of Southern California’s leading international new music artists. She tours globally as a soloist performing computer-assisted, live electronic music with electronic percussion controllers and linear/interactive video. Knoles received her BFA from the California Institute for the Arts, where she runs the electronic percussion program. She is executive director of the California EAR Unit and also works with Kronos Quartet, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, Collage Dance Theater, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt, Bang On a Can All Stars, and Basso Bongo. She has worked with John Cage, Morton Feldman, Frank Zappa, Steve Reich, Quincy Jones, John Adams, and many others. She has recorded nearly 30 CDs of new music and performed for Sony Classics, Echograph, Voyager, New Albion, Nonesuch, New World, CBS, and RCA among others. Amy has received the UNESCO International Prize for the Performing Arts, The City of Los Angeles COLA Award, and ASCAP Foundation Composer-in-Residence at the Music Center of Los Angeles. More information at

Michael Sakamoto is an interdisciplinary artist active in dance, theater, performance art, media, and photography. He is considered one of the leading butoh dance artists in North America and also a longtime educator and arts manager. Sakamoto’s performance and visual works have been presented in festivals, stages, museums, galleries, and alternative venues in 14 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. He is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including from Japan Foundation, DanceUSA, Asian Cultural Council, Meet the Composer, James Irvine Foundation, and many others. Michael earned his MFA and PhD from the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures. More information at

The MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program (MFAIA) at Goddard College is the oldest professional, low-residency, and student-centered MFA program of its kind in the country. With progressive-minded students and highly accomplished faculty in all creative media, the MFAIA is one of America’s leading academic laboratories for exploring interdisciplinary artistic praxis and social engagement. Each semester, students and faculty gather for an eight-day, intensive residency followed by 15 weeks at a distance focused on art-making, creative research, and critical dialogue. The MFAIA student body is diverse in artistic media, age, cultural identity, and professional background. The program maintains sites in Port Townsend, Washington and Plainfield, Vermont and accepts applications each semester for its five-semester program.

More information is available at

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Goddard College
September 21, 2013

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