In Search of Eastman

1/3: Julius Eastman composing. Photo by Donald Burkhardt. Courtesy of Bowerbird.
2/3: Julius Eastman in Buffalo. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Bowerbird.
3/3: Julius Eastman singing, November 1, 1970. Photo by Jim Tuttle. Courtesy of Bowerbird.

Bowerbird’s discovery project, In Search of Eastman, will explore the possibilities associated with presenting the work of Julius Eastman (1940–90), a composer who was active internationally in contemporary music in the 1970s and 80s, but who died at the age of 49, leaving an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings. Eastman studied piano and composition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and later relocated to Buffalo where he was a member of the Creative Associates, under the leadership of Morton Feldman, before moving to New York City, where he spent the remainder of his life. A series of misfortunes and personal struggles left Eastman homeless in the 1980s. Bowerbird’s research and engagement with a range of experts will consider how to unlock Eastman’s work to the wider public and what is possible to present in live performance, given the fragmented nature of his surviving work; as well as how to contextualize Eastman’s identity as a gay African American in the late 1960s.


Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.

Four artists of Arab heritage will come together in an international collaboration to create new poetry, music, and visual art works grappling with notions of displacement.

Grants & Grantees

This immersive, multi-sensory play captured Edgar Allan Poe’s peculiar genius.

Composer Vijay Iyer and librettist Mike Ladd on creating “multi-voiced” performance projects that draw on veterans’ personal narratives.

Grants & Grantees

The Philadelphia Ceili Group is an educational organization with an interest in Irish culture, founded in 1958 to preserve traditional ceili and set dancing.

Two Center-funded performance projects presented by FringeArts at the 2015 Fringe Festival—Available Light and After the Rehearsal/Persona—have gained positive reviews in The New York Times.

Pig Iron Theatre Company brings Twelfth Night, or What You Will back to FringeArts—a production that originally received Center support in 2009.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Composer David Ludwig’s works address pressing contemporary issues, be they “political, existential, or simply aesthetic,” he says.

Grants & Grantees

Terrence Cameron is a musician and a 2000 Pew Fellow in folk and traditional arts.

Grants & Grantees

The first multi-concert retrospective of Julius Eastman, an African American composer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died at age 49, will include rarely-performed works that showcase the composer’s broad compositional practice.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Susanna Sloat is a writer, editor, and arts consultant in New York City who has written about a diverse range of dance.

Grants & Grantees

Percussionist Pablo Batista will blend traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms and contemporary Western instrumentation, Afro-Caribbean choreography and evocative multi-media imagery in a performance that will tell a story of the spiritual and cultural resilience of those forced to emigrate from Africa to the Americas and re-establish themselves with dignity.

In anticipation of Marshall Allen’s performance at Ars Nova Workshop’s New Paths Festival, we’re pleased to share this article, originally published in Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World.