The Necks In Concert with Alvin Curran and Arnold Dreyblatt

Mar 24–25, 2016

Location: Floor Three
Susan and John Hess Family Theater

The Necks, a celebrated Australian music trio composed of Chris Abrahams (piano), Tony Buck (drums), and Lloyd Swanton (bass), mark their thirtieth year together with a rare United States tour. Since their founding in the mid-1980s, the group has produced eighteen albums of highly original improvisatory compositions by way of leaderless deep listening. Often compared to jazz, American minimalism, and post-rock, their peerless live performances often consist of a single hypnotic piece wherein compositional structures mutate and dissolve as they are built. Vertigo (2015), their most recent protean album, includes synthesizers and electronics—new ventures for the group, which has performed largely acoustic until now.

This two-night concert series at the Whitney brings The Necks into dialogue with maverick American composers Alvin Curran and Arnold Dreyblatt, who have both been important touchstones for the trio’s artistic practice. These legendary musicians have each made uniquely significant contributions to minimalism and avant-garde composition and continue to reach new listeners with their startlingly original work.

The Necks in Concert is organized by Jay Sanders, Curator and Curator of Performance.

Tickets are required, and include the cost of admission to the galleries ($22 adults; $18 students, seniors; free for members). Please note: This event has reached ticketing capacity. A limited number of standby tickets may be available at the admissions desk on a first-come, first-served basis. The standby line will open one hour prior to the program's start time.

Major support for the Whitney’s Performance Program is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Generous support is also provided by the Performance Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

In-kind support is provided by Yamaha Artistic Services, New York.

The Necks’ tour has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


Active since the early 1960s, Alvin Curran is an experimental composer, musician, and cofounder of Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV), a seminal electro-acoustic composer ensemble known for its early use of synthesizers and altered circuitry in an analog era. Curran’s own oeuvre as a composer includes over 200 works, including experimental radio projects and solo and chamber pieces, many of which he performs at atypical venues such as on lakes and inside caves, integrating sounds from the natural world into his singular presentations. Inner Cities (1996—), his ongoing series of solo piano pieces, is considered one of the longest non-repetitive piano works ever written.

Legendary American composer and media artist Arnold Dreyblatt’s ecstatic live performances emerge from the artist’s decades-long practice of building and preparing his own instruments, and exploring the incidental harmonic discoveries made when they are played. A student of first-generation minimalists Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, and Alvin Lucier, Dreyblatt invented his own tuning system early in his career. He enacts this method in his work as a solo artist, often percussively playing an upright bass, and with his ensemble, the Orchestra of Excited Strings.


View all