Five Questions for Anthony Elms
Though they emerged as avant-garde musicians and composers in different eras, Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman had been collaborating for nearly a decade, in a spirit of openness to allow their distinctive work to be shaped by each other’s vision. As the elder Ashley told the younger Waterman: “You’re working on my music, but it’s always you.” A pioneering force in contemporary music, Ashley is acclaimed for inventing a new form of opera: multidisciplinary, written in the American vernacular, and, notably, made for television. A scholar and performer, Waterman is part of the experimental ensembles Plus Minus and Either/Or. For the 2014 Whitney Biennial, they came together to re-stage two of Ashley’s groundbreaking works, Perfect Lives (1983) and The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer (1968), and to premiere Crash (2014), the elder musician’s autobiography, completed just months before his death.
American, 1930-2014 and 1975