LEAF2023: Morton Subotnick/Lillevan

Sunday April 30th, 7PM

The Arts Hub, 420 Courtney Way, Lafayette, CO 80026


As I Live and Breathe

On Sunday, April 30, the Lafayette Electronic Arts Festival, Media Manifesta, and KGNU’s Electronic Air are honored to present pioneering experimental electronic music composer Morton Subotnick, and Berlin-based visual artist Lillevan, performing live in immersive quadraphonic sound. Having worked together for the last twelve years, the technique and process of Subotnick and Lillevan has culminated in the work, “As I Live and Breathe”. Subotnick has stated that he feels this work will be “the ultimate fulfillment of his public performance; one of the last, if not the last, of his public performance works”, as he turns 90 years old this year. The work is centered around Subotnick’s breath, which becomes ever more musically and visually ornamented by Lillevan, only to end with a single, exhaled breath. The work is meant as a musical metaphor for the composer’s life in music. 


Morton Subotnick

In the early 60s, Subotnick taught at Mills College and with Ramon Sender, co-founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center. During this period he collaborated with Anna Halprin in two works (the 3 legged stool and Parades and Changes) and was music director of the Actors Workshop.  It was also during this period that Subotnick worked with Don Buchla on what may have been the first analog synthesizer (now at the Library of Congress).

Between 1961 and 1980, Morton Subotnick’s principal work as a composer was devoted to the development of electronic music as a studio art. The first four years of that period were spent with Don Buchla designing and building an appropriate instrument with which to make music specifically for recorded formats, to be heard in one’s home. In 1969 Subotnick helped carved out a new path of music education and created the now famous California Institute of the Arts.

The work which brought Subotnick celebrity was Silver Apples of the Moon (1966-7), which marked the first time an original large-scale composition had been created specifically for the disc medium – a conscious acknowledgment that the home stereo system constituted a present-day form of chamber music. Silver Apples of the Moon has become a modern classic and was recently entered into the National Register of Recorded Works at the Library of Congress. Only 300 recordings throughout the entire history of recorded music have been chosen.

Later, Subotnick began creating works for electronics and instruments and large-scale multimedia projects. In the last decade, technology has made it possible for him to bring equipment onto the stage and perform in public. Subotnick has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as a lecturer and composer/performer. Among Subotnick’s awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Grants (3), Meet the Composer (2), American Academy of Arts and Letters Composer Award, Brandies Award, Deutcher Akademisher Austauschdienst Kunsterprogramm (DAAD), Composer in Residence in Berlin, Lifetime Achievement Award (SEAMUS at Dartmouth), ASCAP: John Cage Award, ACO: Lifetime Achievement, Honorary Doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts.


Lillevan is an animation, video and media artist who is perhaps best known as a founding member of the visual/music group Rechenzentrum / Data Center (1997-2008). He has worked and performed with an array of acclaimed artists from other genres: music – both club culture and classical, dance, theatre and opera, and has enjoyed challenging projects in performance and installation, and academic settings. His performances, DVD releases, collaborations and solo works have been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, taking visual music, animation, bricolage and film manipulation to new levels. Lillevan performs and lectures all over the world, previous festivals and events include Europe, Asia, North & South America; Ars Electronica, Transmediale, Mutek, Dis-Patch etc.