American Mavericks

Morton Feldman

(b. New York City, January 12 1926; d. Buffalo, New York, September 3 1987)

Morton Feldman studied composition with Wallingford Riegger and Stefan Wolpe but was most influenced by John Cage. During the 1950s in New York he associated with the composers Earle Brown and Christian Wolff; painters Mark Rothko, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg; and pianist David Tudor.

His experiments in notation arose from an obsession to write music as he heard it, and what he created were works of delicate luminosity, slowly moving and defining silence. His later works tend to great length. His Second String Quartet (1983), for instance, lasts a little longer than Götterdämmerung.