You can find more infos on Jon's website: www.appletonjon.com
I met Jon Appleton in São Paulo on last august. He was invited by his former student Vanderlei Lucentini to come to Brazil to some lectures and a pocket concert at an event called Actamedia 10 in which Vanderlei was the curator. Jon Appleton is a very kind and gentle man. And very funny (what was one of the main things I liked in Jon: his good sense of humor!). I wish to thank so much Jon for this interview and for being always very kind! And also want to thank Vanderlei Lucentini for the opportunity of meeting Jon personally!
|Jon Appleton & Astronauta Pinguim - São Paulo (august, 2012)|
Here's my five questions to Jon Appleton:
ASTRONAUTA - Jon, what are your musical memories from your childhood and when did you noticed that you'd like to be a professional musician? And how did you became interested in electro-acoustic/electronic music?
APPLETON - I wanted to become a composer from the time I was six years old. At nine years old I composed "The Martian Concerto". Juvenal.
APPLETON - I met Lev Theremin in Bourges, France. (See this historic photo with Theremin, me, Moog, Buchla, etc.) I have composed three pieces for theremin - all of them for Lydia Kavina. The instrument is difficult to play musically. I don't understand why people are so fascinated with it.
Synclavier, the first commercial digital synthesizer). How was the process to build the first prototype and make the necessary adjustments till you, Sydney Alonso and Cameron Jones said "ok, here's the synclavier!"? Do you still have one of these first Synclaviers (and still plays this instrument sometimes)?
APPLETON - I have the first and the second Synclavier but I don't play them. I am not sure they work. Sydney and Cameron and I developed the instrument first from something called The Dartmouth Digital Synthesizer. It was my conception and their design.
ASTRONAUTA - I'm a MOOG aficionado, as you may have noticed. You used a Moog Synthesizer as your main instrument in the album you recorded with Don Cherry, "Human Music" (1970). How did you meet Robert Moog and what are your impressions about him? And how about Don Cherry and your impressions about the album you recorded together?
APPLETON - Bob Moog was a very gentle and kind person. He was a terrible businessman. See photo. I met Bob at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1965. Don Cherry and I met through our record label Flying Dutchman. He had an enormous musical imagination and was willing to try anything.
ASTRONAUTA - Your piece "Chef d'Ouevre" is very nice! It's an electro-acoustic piece but, in my head, I make a comparison with Andy Warhol and pop-art that was emerging almost at the same period (don't know if I'm being fool to make this comparison...) Did you like the pop-art movement in the sixties and it kind of influenced you somehow? Or, better, what other art forms influenced your music?
APPLETON - Maybe many artists at the time were interested in incorporating elements of popular culture in the late 1960s. I don't know many composers who did this. "Chef d'Ouevre"attracted a lot of attention because of this. It was actually released on a 45 rpm record with "Newark Airport Rock" on the second side. My favorite piece from this era is "Time Square Times Ten" (http://www.folkways.si.edu/TrackDetails.aspx?itermid=32519). You can hear a Moog Synthesizer in the piece.