This talk redirects the influential observation by the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz that war is “the continuation of politics with other means” toward an examination of Christian Broecking’s interviews as music. Broecking sought out the very finest and most innovative improvisors of the past three generations for his duo interview improvisations. What binds these interviews together are two major factors: first, the experimental attitude that characterizes the music of his duo partners; and second, Broecking’s ardent understanding that black liveness matters. Broecking’s interviewees found him a ready partner for Gesprächsimprovisationen that reveled in beauty and the freedoms of the cosmopolitan, while at the same time taking a hard look at the benefits, costs, and risks of continuous creativity—an enterprise that can, at times, seem like war.
George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, where he is Area Chair in Composition and Faculty in Historical Musicology.
is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a MacArthur Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Doris Duke Artist. A pioneer of interactive programs that improvise in concert with human musicians, Lewis’s compositions are performed by ensembles worldwide, and he holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, New College of Florida, and Harvard University. He is the author of A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press) and co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies.