NYC: Byrd Hoffmann School of Byrds, 1972
45 x 21cm, 8pp self cover. Black on cream paper.
Why rewrite this very good summary of Wilson’s legendary drama and music company: “The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds was an artist community living and rehearsing in a disused, three storeys warehouse on 147 Spring St, NYC in Lower Manhattan, with a performance space on the ground floor. The School was formed by painter, contemporary artist and stage designer Robert Wilson, born in Waco, Texas in 1941, and named after Texan dancer Byrd Hoffmann, who cured Wilson from a stammer in 1958. Wilson moved to New York in 1961 to study at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and with choreographers George Balanchine and Merce Cunningham. In 1968, he adopted deaf-mute African American boy Raymond Andrews and, in the early 1970s, autistic teenager Christopher Knowles, born 1959 in New York. In 1968, with these people and other disabled people he met in the streets or Harlem public hospitals, Wilson formed The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds. The troupe was active between 1968 and 1975, producing several ground-breaking plays like The King of Spain or The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (a 12-hour play), both in 1969, the legendary “silent opera” Deafman Glance in 1971, and the 7-days play KA Mountain and GUARDENIA TERRACE in 1972. In 1975, Wilson started collaborating with Philip Glass to the stage design of Einstein on the Beach, premiered 1976, and The School of Byrds was turned into a foundation.” – from continuo.wordpress.com
Overture was regarded as the forepiece to “Mountain and GUARDENIA TERRACE” (sic) although only three hours long and was performed in April 1972 (the larger longer work was September of that year). This is the programme for the work. Contains lengthy notes by Wilson, full cast list and participants of the Byrd Hoffmann School of Byrds and a cover illustration presumably by Wilson. Rare. Some edge wear at top and very mild marks to blank back sheet but overall VG+.