Conceptualism: the hidden history of the musical avant-garde
Discussion and promotion of the #29 issue of Glissando magazine
Discussion panel: Paweł Malinowski, Paweł Szroniak, Monika Żyła
Moderators: Antoni Michnik, Izabela Smelczyńska
It could seem that as an artistic current, conceptualism never actually happened in modern music. There is no trace of such a phenomenon in the vast literature on the history of sound practice in the twentieth nor the twenty-first century. Conceptualism is primarily associated with the visual arts, but we often forget it initiated in music: for example, in the art of John Cage and his students at the New School for Social Research, or in Henry Flynt, considered the author of the term of concept art.
Looking at modern music from the perspective of the conceptual turn of the 1950s, we are able to somewhat reshuffle its canon, interestingly repositioning the works of authors such as George Brecht, Takehisa Kosugi, Robert Ashley, Peter Ablinger, Manfred Werder, or Toshiya Tsunoda. Lately, interest in conceptualism has gradually risen, as can be observed both in Darmstadt circles (see, for example, Harry Lehmann and Johannes Kreidler) and those of the broadly understood Cage tradition (see the Wandelweiser group and the postreductionist scene) and even in popular and club music. In issues #22 and #28 of Glissando, we have dedicated much space to the former community; now it is time to shed light on the others.