Performance Of Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed’s Drones And Viola Duets With Laurie Anderson In Harlem

March 6, 2019

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in conjunction with the recently-opened exhibition The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls, presents an incredible drone-based sonic experience utilizing a number of historic guitars from the late Lou Reed’s collection. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at 6:30 – 11:30 pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), In Harlem, NY.

The event is organized by Laurie Anderson, artist, performance pioneer, and Lou Reed’s life partner, and curated by Reed’s former guitar technician, Stewart Hurwood. Taking full advantage of the Cathedral’s legendarily immense interior, the evening will envelop audience members in harmonic tones that shift and change depending on the listener’s location within the space of the Cathedral. The Cathedral’s natural 8-second reverb will add immeasurably to the profound Doppler effect the audience experiences as they move around the space. Each guitar, placed against a group of amplifiers so that their tuned feedback creates a cascading, uniting, elevating loops of drones and harmonics, adds to the visceral, emotional and spiritual experience.

The Velvet Underground embraced suspended (drone) notes sustained against musical changes to provide tension and angst. John Cale and Lou Reed were both influenced by and shared a love of the work of La Monte Young, whose compositions frequently incorporated drones, and in 1975, Lou Reed would champion the drone music that had been an early influence with his solo album Metal Machine Music, laying the foundation for ambient and industrial music.

This event is free and open to the public. Prior to the performance, visitors are invited to explore The Value of Sanctuary. This multidisciplinary exhibition, on view through June 30, 2019, explores the question of sanctuary through the work of modern and contemporary artists. Throughout the course of the exhibition, visitors will be invited to explore the meaning of sanctuary through many viewpoints, expanding upon the Cathedral’s guiding mission and role as a sacred space, cultural center, and platform for the urgent issues of our times.

For more information on the performance, visit this page.

Photo credit: Da Ping Luo

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