Frederic Rzewski: Plan for Spacecraft

Plan for Spacecraft by Frederic Rzewski

Performed by Zeitgeist and guest artists: Ivan Cunningham, Dameun Strange, Douglas Ewart, Alyssa Anderson, Daisy Swimmer, Isaac Mayhew, George Cartwright, Alex Hecker, Eric M. C. Gonzalez.

PLAN FOR SPACECRAFT (1967) is a written text outlining an improvisational process that dismantles the usual rules of musical and social being and replaces them with a music that transforms space, people, and relationships. 

Frederic Rzewski

Frederic Rzewski (April 13, 1938 – June 26, 2021) was an American composer and pianist who is considered to be one of the most important American composer-pianists of his time. His major compositions, which often incorporate social and political themes, include the minimalist Coming Together and the variation set The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, which has become a modern classic.

​Rzewski studied music privately with Charles Mackey in Springfield, Massachusetts as a child and studied composition with Walter Piston, counterpoint with Randall Thompson and orchestration with Claudio Spies at Harvard University from 1954–58. He studied composition with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions and the music of Richard Wagner with Oliver Strunk at Princeton University from 1958–60, where he also studied literature and philosophy from Greece. In addition, he studied composition privately with Luigi Dallapiccola in Rome in 1960.

As a pianist, he frequently performed with the flautist Severino Gazzelloni in the 1960s. He then co-founded with Alvin Curran and Richard Teitelbaum the improvisational and live electronic ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva in Rome in 1966 and performed with it from 1966–71. He was thereafter active as a pianist, primarily in performances of his own pieces and music by other contemporary composers.

He taught at the Conservatoire royal de musique in Liège from 1977–2003, where he was Professeur de Composition from 1983–2003. He gave lectures in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA.

Frederic Rzewski: A Decade

Frederic Rzewski: A Decade

American ex-patriot Frederic Rzewksi has written several works for Zeitgeist; this CD features all of them. Rzewski’s music draws its inspiration from literature and is imbued with Rzewski’s political leanings. He writes for acoustic forces, employs exotic additive melodies, and takes advantage of Zeitgeist’s prowess as an improvising ensemble. Contains Frederic Rzewski’s Wails (1985), Spots (1987), The Lost Melody (1989), and Crusoe (1993).

Performers: Heather Barringer, Jay Johnson, Tom Linker, Bob Samarotto, Joe Holmquist.