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20 September 2018

Chris Mann (1949-2018)

Chris Mann performing in New York in 2009 Image: Chris Mann performing in New York in 2009  

Composer and poet Chris Mann has died in New York at the age of 69 on 12 September 2018. Influenced by John Cage and Kenneth Gaburo, Mann's work in the field of compositional linguistics was characterised by his unique performance style and voice, described by Tim Rutherford-Johnson as having "this quality that made you feel as though you had been unwillingly sucked into a conversation with a slightly mad neighbour: amongst the Beckett and the Pinter streams of stuttering consciousness was the gabble of gossip" (The Rambler 13 September 2018).

Chris Mann: "goes a little something like this"
performance in New York in 2009,
from George Quasha on Vimeo.

Mann was involved in establishing the New Music Centre in Melbourne in the 1970s, and went on to work with Syd Clayton, Peter Mummé, Warren Burt, among others (more details about this period). He was the recipient of commissions from Gaburo and Cage, from radio stations, dance companies, and festivals, and his solo performances included appearances at prestigious festivals such as Paris Autumn, Ars Electronica and Berliner Festspiele. Before his move to New York in the mid-1990s, he worked closely with the Machine for Making Sense with Amanda Stewart and others (watch a video of a 1994 performance at the Sydney Opera House).

Mann's work over the past decade can be explored on the artist's website at http://theuse.info/. Recent work is also available via his 'the use' iPad app. For earlier work, see for example: Machine for Making Sense: On second thoughts (1994), available as digital audio and hard copy from the AMC; Shame File Music (NMA tapes 1980s-1990s, available as CDs and free downloads); Scarlet Aardvark (no. 39: collaborative works by Warren Burt and Chris Mann 1977-1993). Read also a brief interview conducted in July 2002.

> Chris Mann - AMC profile

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