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Christian Wolff$
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Michael Hicks and Christian Asplund

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037061

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037061.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

Orpheus in Tennis Sneakers

Orpheus in Tennis Sneakers

Chapter:
(p.5) 1 Orpheus in Tennis Sneakers
Source:
Christian Wolff
Author(s):

Michael Hicks

Christian Asplund

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037061.003.0001

This chapter describes Wolff's childhood and formative years in the world of music. Born to cellist Kurt Wolff and his wife Helen in 1934, Christian Wolff grew up during an era of political unrest, which later culminated in the Second World War. Though born in France to German parents, Wolff would spend a significant part of his life in the United States, where he had begun an informal education in music, and where he would eventually study under his mentor John Cage, from whom Wolff would draw the fundamental ideas, habits, and relationships that would guide the rest of his compositional career. Here, the chapter shows how Wolff's early opus—which set the pattern for all his subsequent compositional periods—were formed and influenced through Cage's instruction. Yet the chapter shows that this influence proved reciprocal, with Wolff likewise leaving his own lasting impacts upon Cage's compositional career.

Keywords:   World War II, Kurt Wolff, Helen Wolff, John Cage, early opus, childhood, piano, Anton Webern

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