Scenes from Liminal's 2003 concert of American Minimal Music performed in Portland, Oregon. Clips include Terry Riley's In C and Steve Reich's Pendulum Music.

In 2003, Minimal at Liminal was the first in a variety of genre-crossing performances by Liminal that surveyed the ensemble’s roots in avant-garde music, art and theater.

American Minimal Music, or “repetitive music,” frequently refers to the compositions of La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, who all began their careers in the early 1960s. Minimal music focuses on the audible transformation of small musical phrases through repetition and the execution of processes determined by the composer. All Minimal music lacks narrative structure. The music discards traditional harmonic schemes of tension and relaxation, and formal structures of cause and effect. Thus, the listener must discard regular listening habits if one is to experience the ecstatic effect of the music.

Minimal music is inherently performative. It is about the process of experiencing sounds as they transform in the moment. The task of the Minimal composer and the performers is not to lead the audience to a planned catharsis, but to arrange a system where catharsis may spontaneously occur. It is like listening to falling rain in a quiet house—you can hear the pulse of a million drops of water hitting the roof, or you can isolate the sound of a single drop hitting a window. Minimal music allows us to hear the parts and the whole, separately and together.

Minimal at Liminal was directed by John Berendzen.  Special thanks for this project went to: Michael Stirling, Michael Walsh, Community Music Center, Creative Music Guild, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Tim Duroche, Musik Centur, Michael Harberson, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Amanda Dahlquist, Metropolitan Group, Trent Moore, OPB, Laura Winter, Terry Riley.

Reviews
The Oregonian, February 25, 2003
Willamette Week, February 26, 2003
Willamette Week, February 21, 2003

Link to News Release

Link to Program PDF

Compositions and performers included:

Composition 1960 #7 - LaMonte Young
John Berendzen, computer

Prelude for Meditation and Music for Marcel Duchamp - John Cage
Amanda Boekelheide, piano

4′33″ - John Cage
Amanda Boekelheide, Bryan Markovitz

1+1 - Philip Glass
Matthew Nidek, amplified tabletop and laptop

In C - Terry Riley
Tofer Towe, the pulse
Michael Stirling, voice
David Moscu, flute
John Gross, saxophone
John Hagelbarger, clarinet
Jonathan Sielaff, bass clarinet
Michael Walsh, bassoon
Gabriel Liston, accordion
Matthew Nidek, vibraphone
Craig Martin, vibraphone
Derek Trost, marimba
John Berendzen, synthesizer
Moses Gunesch, acoustic guitar
Jonas Tauber, string bass

997 (April 1960) to Henry Flynt - LaMonte Young
Frank Marroquin, piano