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Film Premiere in Berlin: "Subotnick: Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer" Chronicles the Life and Work of Morton Subotnick

Nov. 23, 2022

The world premiere screening of the documentary film: "Subotnick: Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer" was presented on November 3 as part of the CTM Festival in Berlin. The Festival notes:

"Through a series of candid interviews and illuminating conversations with key figures from his past and present, Subotnick provides an overview of this fascinating composer’s rich life and uncompromising career. Over five years in the making, the film is a first-hand account, and an artistic portrait, of this seminal composer, whose approach to art, and outlook on life, reveal a unique thinker with a fiercely individualist streak. The film narrative moves along two parallel lines; exploring a year in his life as he creates and shapes the multi-media chamber opera, Crowds and Power, while simultaneously exploring his past — going back in time to his days as a child prodigy on the clarinet, his disastrous stint in the army during the Korean War, founding the San Francisco Tape Music Center, and culminating in his breakthrough recording of Silver Apples of the Moon, the world’s first electronic music composition specifically created for the record medium.

Featuring several live performances from around the globe, captured in glorious surround sound, and augmented with innovative liquid-light psychedelic effects, Subotnick is a multimedia experience that highlights and celebrates one of the world’s most influential living composers."

(Preview of SUBOTNICK - Portrait of an Electronic Music Pioneer)

A Q&A session with Subotnick and film director Robert Fantinatto, moderated by Lisa Blanning, followed the screening. Morton Subotnick and Lillevan subsequently performed As I Live and Breathe

The CTM Festival notes:

"Between 1961 and 1980, Morton Subotnick’s principal work as a composer was devoted to the development of electronic music as a studio art. The first four years of that period were spent with Don Buchla designing and building an appropriate instrument with which to make music specifically for recorded formats, to be heard in one’s home. The work which brought Subotnick celebrity was Silver Apples of the Moon (1966-7), which marked the first time an original large-scale composition had been created specifically for the disc medium – a conscious acknowledgment that the home stereo system constituted a present-day form of chamber music. Later, Subotnick began creating works for electronics and instruments and large-scale multimedia projects. In the last decade, technology has made it possible for him to bring equipment onto the stage and perform in public.

The work technique and process of the last decade of his creative life has resulted in As I Live and Breathe, which Subotnick feels will be the ultimate fulfilment of his public performance; one of the last, if not the last, of his public performance works. Centered around Subotnick’s breath – which becomes ever more musically and visually ornamented, only to end with a single, exhaled breath – the work is meant as a musical metaphor for the composer’s life in music."

(SUBOTNICK – The Making of Silver Apples of the Moon)

To learn more about Morton Subotnick, visit: