Henry Cowell (1887-1965) was a leading composer, critic and educator who worked largely in the experimental vein of American music. He was born in California and attended Stanford University. Throughout the 1950s he lived in New York City and upstate New York, and taught at the New School. Through his journal (New Music Quarterly), his concert promotions, and his WBAI-New York radio programs, he is credited with having "rediscovered" Charles Ives, published Carl Ruggles, and effectively promoted Edgard Varese. Aside from his famous book, New Musical Resources , however, Henry Cowell's many essays, reviews, manifestos, and other writings have never been gathered and published in book form. In the thirty-five years since Cowell's death, he has attained a significant position as a composer (there are over 130 CD recordings available); live concerts featuring Cowell works are no longer uncommon; and an authorized biography is being written.
Poet, essayist, composer, performance artist and a founding member of Fluxus, Dick Higgins was a leading proponent of "Intermedia," which he named. Through his publishing house, Something Else Press, he issued from 1964 to 1973 the Wrst "artist's books," including works by Emmett Williams, Claes Oldenburg, and Merce Cunningham, and reissued six books by Gertrude Stein (notably The Making of Americans) along with Henry Cowell's New Musical Resources. Among Dick Higgins' numerous books are A Book About Love & War & Death, Poems Plain & Fancy, foew&ombwhnw, Pattern Poetry: Guide to an Unkown Literature, Horizons: The Poetics and Theory of Intermedia, A Dialectic of Centuries, and Modernism Since Postmodernism.
Kyle Gann is a composer, music critic for The Village Voice, and Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He is the author of American Music in the 20th Century.