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Benjamin Piekut
University of Southampton (Southampton S09 5NH United Kingdom)
No More Songs: Henry Cow and British Experimental Music, 1968-1980

NO MORE SONGS writes a history of British experimental music in the 1970s through the lens of the ensemble Henry Cow. Formed by two Cambridge University undergraduates in May 1968, Henry Cow existed for ten years, producing some of the most complex, varied, and imaginative music of the 1970s. They forged associations of various kinds with rock musicians, classically trained composers, and European “free” improvisers; this broad network of cultural production evidences a web of attachments characteristic of British experimentalism in this period, and prefigures a similar arrangement of global experimentalism in the current moment. Establishing the history of Henry Cow—and their position in the field of experimental music in the 1970s—is therefore essential to understanding the contemporary landscape of global, “post-genre” experimental music, which owes as much to histories of rock and jazz as it does to those of art music.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 8/31/2011