Experimental Music-Theater Works

“There is no answer.  There never was an answer.

There never will be an answer.  That is the answer.”

Gertrude Stein


Divertissement No. III :  A Lunchbag Opera

for full adult size paper bags, “brown lunch bags” walking, strolling through any important financial district, banking center in the world at lunch time.  Solo or in groups of bags, the only instructions:  do not talk with any humans who stop you or wish to chat.   Each person within a bag has a selected toy noise-maker, used ‘when appropriately’.

The work was given its premiere in lunchtime, around noon, Summer of 1971.  The BBC TV camera crews covered the planned event.  The tv broadcast of the work in this youtube vid shows the results, directed by William Fitzwater.

BBC Paper Bag Opera in the streets of London, 1971


Divertissement No. 1  “Popcorn Music”  (1967)

Composed in San Francisco for various performances there.  Further performances have been presented throughout the USA.An important performance was via the Iowa Percussion, conducted by Dan Moore, University of Iowa.

Composed for any instrumental/vocal ensemble around a heated electric frying pan or any such equipment for heating up and creating popcorn.  There is no top on the pan so that the popcorn explodes and flies through the air; the performers wear gigantic dark glasses with musical staves placed upon each lense.   The visual “suggestion” to the public is that the performers are playing ‘the popcorn as it flies through the air’.

A presentation of this work needs rehearsals, in particular, with the timing of the heating up of the oil and the popcorn, how long it will continue and when to theatrically stop the performance.

Publ.  Charlotte Benson Music Publ (BMI)


a singspiel for narrator,  soprano, alto, tenor, bass voices,
flute/piccolo, oboe, violin, viola, cello, harpsichord, synthesizer;  text by Arthur Yorinks and the composer; premiered at Mount Holyoke College, MA in 1985 and presented in the style of a Cambodian shadow puppet show.  Two performances were given at the Asia Society in New York City.
(duration about one hour)



for trombone, pre-recorded tape; originally commissioned and premiered by Stuart Dempster, the ‘trombonist in a bag’ was given a recent performance by Patrick Crossland.


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