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Buddhadharma : Fall 2012
t’s the end of August, 1952. Carolyn and Earle Brown, John Cage, David Tudor, and M.C. Richards are all driving up the Hudson Valley together, headed to the little Catskills art colony of Woodstock. The Browns have just moved to Manhattan, and already they’re on an adventure. Cage carries a new score, which will prove to be his most notorious, most perplex- ing creation. The turning moment of silence in the American arts is about to be given its debut. Tudor is on the bill as the featured pianist at the Maverick Concert Hall, in a benefit sponsored by the Woodstock Artists Association for its Artists Wel- fare Fund. The Maverick is a drafty, hand-built barn—a “rustic music cha- pel”—built on the property of turn-of-the-century novelist and poet Hervey White. Maverick concerts in the early 1950s drew a clique of traditional musi- cians. Among them was composer and concert violinist William Kroll, who founded the Kroll Quartet, taught in New York and Baltimore, and divided his summers between Woodstock, New York, and Tanglewood, in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, where he was director of the chamber music series. Leon Barzin, another local luminary, pulled weight as conductor, violinist, and musical director of the National Orchestral Association and the New York City Ballet. In 1952, Maverick had its own Society for New Music, at which all the same names repeat. Maverick audiences were drawn from an equally small pool; new faces were rare enough to occasion a comment in the local press. Into this tempest-tossed teapot came John Cage. The Performance Carolyn, Earle, M.C., and John settle onto hard wooden benches and chairs in the Maverick. Behind them, the gambrel roof of the barn holds an arch of old window sashes, a homegrown Woodstock version of a cathedral’s stained-glass rose window. In front of them is a small, shin-high stage, low enough so a performer can step up in one hop. (TOP) PHOTO PAM KILLIN KAY LARSON is a writer and an art critic and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. She began practicing in the Zen tradition in 1994 and now practices in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition at KTD in upstate New York. Where the Heart Beats is her first book. Maverick Concert Hall PHOTOOFKAYLARSONBYANDREWPEKARIK