Robert Ashley

Joanne Savio
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Robert Ashley

 

Robert Ashley (1930-2014) is particularly known for his work in new forms of opera. In Ann Arbor in the 1960s, Ashley organized the ONCE Festival and directed the legendary ONCE Group, with whom he developed his first operas. Throughout the 1970s, he directed the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College and toured with the Sonic Arts Union. He produced and directed Music with Roots in the Aether, a 14-hour television opera/documentary about the work and ideas of seven American composers. His opera for television, Perfect Lives, is widely considered the precursor of “music-television.” Stage versions of Perfect Lives, Atalanta (Acts of God), Improvement (Don Leaves Linda), Foreign Experiences, eL/Aficionado and Now Eleanor’s Idea toured throughout the US and Canada, Europe and Asia during the 1980s and 90s. Dust, followed by Celestial Excursions and The Old Man Lives in Concrete toured from 1999-2012. He finished his last two operas (Crash and Quicksand) in 2013. Crash was presented as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial; the Kitchen presented Quicksand in early 2016.

Robert Ashley’s official website for more information.