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Breaking Earth


Composing with a palette of images, spaces, and sounds, collaborators Alfred Guzzetti and Kurt Stallmann transformed the DiverseWorks gallery into an immersive atmosphere of light and sound. With five expansive screens displaying crisp, high definition video and multiple audio channels, Breaking Earth begins with recognizable sounds and pictures of the natural world – woods, sea, wind, streams, stone. Elements then shift almost imperceptibly into one another. Links between reality and the things we hear and see become stretched and tenuous, carrying us to a place where the abstracted natural landscape becomes a landscape of consciousness.

About the Artists

Alfred Guzzetti‘s films include the feature-length Family Portrait Sittings (1975), the first in an autobiographical cycle that continued with Scenes from Childhood (1980) and Beginning Pieces (1986). He collaborated with Susan Meiselas and Richard Rogers on the documentaries Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family (1985) and Pictures from a Revolution (1991), and with anthropologists Ákos Östör and Lina Fruzzetti on Seed and Earth (1994) and Khalfan and Zanzibar (2000). He has also worked in more experimental modes, making the short films Air (1971) and Evidence (1972) and more recently a series of videotapes, including The Tower of Industrial Life (2000), Calcutta Intersection (2003), History of the Sea (2004), and Night Vision (2005). In collaboration with composers Earl Kim, Ivan Tcherepnin, and Kurt Stallmann he has created visual elements for concert pieces and films. He is the author of the book Two or Three Things I Know about Her: Analysis of a Film by Godard (Harvard University Press, 1981).

Composer Kurt Stallmann devotes his energy to the synthesis and connection of many media available to composers today. His works include pieces for acoustic instruments, acoustic/electronics groupings with interactive elements, purely synthetic sounds, and environmental sounds. He enjoys frequent collaborations with improvisational musicians and with artists from other disciplines. He currently teaches music composition at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where he directs the computer/electronic music facility, REMLABS.  In 2005, DiverseWorks presented SONA- Sounds of Houston: Wind, Rain, Trains, a multi-media composition with the Enso String Quartet and Alfred Guzzetti. Stallmann’s current projects include serving as composer-in-residence at Houston’s Sharpstown High School in the Spring of 2008 through the Houston Symphony Education & Community Division with sponsorship from Fidelity; a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation for a large work for chamber orchestra with live electronics; and two new acoustic works – one for the Fischer Duo (piano and cello) to be premiered in April 2008, and the other for Jeremy Kurtz (principal bassist of the San Diego Symphony) with Stallmann on piano, to be recorded in May 2008.


Breaking Earth was commissioned as part of a national series of works from Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/ USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Francis Goelet Trust, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Target, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


On View:

March 7 – April 26, 2008


1117 E. Freeway
Houston, TX  77002