04/05  | 17:00

± 1h 30min

Composer, musician, shaman, visual artist and performer, Charlemagne Palestine is a legendary figure on the New York underground scene. He is often viewed as one of the pioneers of minimalist music today, a trend in which he does not recognise himself however, preferring an approach that he calls “maximalist” or “spontanimalist”. At the piano or on his electronic oscillators, this outsider of skilful music experiments with the principles of resonance and repetition in a quest for the “golden sound”: the ultimate harmonic vibration. Based in Brussels for 20 years now and with his work exhibited in BOZAR from mid May, Palestine presents two exceptional musical performances at the festival. In the first, he returns to bell ringing, an art form he practised daily in the 1960s, offering a carillon and organ concert! He is then giving a surprise concert in the future Kanal – Centre Pompidou, which will also be our festival centre for the closing weekend. From the public space to spaces being created out of the old Citroën garage, these two encounters with a punk icon of contemporary music are definitely not to be missed.

See also
Newwwsswirlll on 25/05 – 22:00 at Kanal – Centre Pompidou

A project by
Charlemagne Palestine  

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Kanal – Centre Pompidou, BOZAR 


Kunstenfestivaldesarts, JAP – Jeunesse et Arts 

Thanks to
TINTINNABULUM vzw/asbl, Cathedral St. Michael and St. Gudula

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Born in Brooklyn in 1947 as Chaim Moshe Palestine, he joined Stanley Sapir’s choir as a child to use singing to ease the effects of his stammer. Raised in a family that originally came from Odessa, he was divided between a traditional education and a taste for experimental artistic forms. From the 1970s his singing, bell ringing, and organ and then piano playing allowed him to develop a physical and vibratory relationship with the space, his body and the audience. In 1962 he became a bell ringer at Saint Thomas Church in Manhattan where he developed the first foundations of his sound research he called Golden Sound. It was also around this time that he first tried his hand at the organ in the Unitarian Church of New York. Tony Conrad heard and admired his bell ringing and introduced him to the New York avant-garde scene where he encountered La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Philip Glass. His performances are adapted to suit the contexts and instruments he is using, creating a genuine dialogue with the venues in which he performs. This total dimension of his approach is like the soft toys he collects and exhibits: an ideal audience, totems, a pampered and lost community that he is seeking to rebuild, giving a concrete form to the animist nature of his work. After experimenting with tapes, he continued his research into electronic music with new synthesisers (specifically the Buchla 100 and 200) thanks to an encounter with Morton Subotnick in 1967. In Subotnick’s studio, the New York University Intermedia Center, he produced long pieces comprising continuous sounds and playing with microtones. From 1969 to 1970, Palestine moved to San Francisco to study and teach at CalArts where he discovered the possibilities presented by the Bösendorfer. Fascinated by this instrument’s harmonic richness, he invented a technique he called strumming, a continuation of his musical practice with bell ringing and the synthesiser. California was also the place where he entered the art world, creating his first performances, videos and sculptures, and where he met the dancer Simone Forti, starting his collaboration with her. In 1970, invited by Allan Kaprow, he created his first performance at the Pasadena Museum. In the 1970s, his performances led to his creation of the concept of Body Music. He has lived in Brussels for many years.

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