Go Deeper

The World According To Mort: American Sublime Festival Features The Music Of Morton Feldman

Posted May 31st, 2011

If you enjoy music, visual art, or Turkish rugs, then American Sublime is the festival for you. Bowerbird, Philly’s presenter of new music, presents an eight-day festival devoted entirely to the music of Morton Feldman.

Feldman is a composer whose music, according to music critic Kyle Gann, “appeals across stylistic boundaries, among minimalists, postserialists, 12-tone holdouts, electronic composers, academics, Downtowners, MAX programmers, DJ artists, and other miscellaneous wastrels.”

The festival runs June 4–12 and includes seven concerts that will take place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, New Music at Crane Arts, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Biello Martin Studio. The final concert at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral (June 12 at 2pm, 3723 Chestnut Street, free) is Feldman’s monumental six-hour String Quartet no 2 performed by the Flux Quartet. You need not avoid liquids leading up to the event–audiences may come and go as they wish.

A variety of supporting events are also planned, including panel discussions, talks, and workshops. If you’re in the mood to sing, take a workshop on extended vocal technique led by the iconic Joan La Barbara (June 9 at 6pm, Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street). Alternatively, if you’re in the mood to learn about Turkish rugs, there is a presentation on Turkish rugs by Gallery51 owner Craig Wallen (June 11 at 5pm, Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catherine Street).

Tickets range from free to twenty dollars. To see the full schedule with ticket and venue info visit

To read an interesting profile of Morton Feldman by Alex Ross of The New Yorker, click here.

–Lulu Krause