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Christian Wolff

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Composer, USA

Christian Wolff was born in 1934 in Nice, but has lived mostly in the U.S. since 1941. He studied classical philology, piano with Grete Sultan and shortly composition with John Cage. Though mostly self-taught as a composer, association with John Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor, Earle Brown, Frederic Rzewski and Cornelius Cardew have been important for him. A particular feature of his music has been to allow performers various degrees of freedom and interaction at the actual time of performance. A number of pieces have been used by Merce Cunningham and the Cunningham Dance Company, starting in 1953. Wolff has also been active as a performer and as an improviser - with, among others, Takehisa Kosugi, Steve Lacey, Keith Rowe, William Winant, Kui Dong, Larry Polansky and the group AMM. He has received awards and grants from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, DAAD Berlin, the Asian Cultural Council, the Fromm Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts (the John Cage award for music) and the Mellon Foundation. Since 1999 he is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and has received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts. 1971 to 1999 he was professor of Classics and Music at Dartmouth College in Hanover/New Hampshire.

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