Dean Rosenthal’s Stones/Water/Time/Breath is experimental music in which a participant or participants choose any body of water and perform a set of actions designed to create a musical performance. It was born from an impromptu performance by the composer in May 2012 on Martha’s Vineyard that was later written down as a set of performance steps that can be performed by everyone. What is the music? In performance, participants, with or without musical training, are invited to explore and inhabit listening spaces that include sound, silence, and the environment; in solo performances and in group or ensemble performances, different forms of community occur. One feature of this work as experimental music is the hope to leave behind the rarified performance practice that can sometimes occur; here the intention is to reach all and extend community. This site presents the score, offers downloads in several languages, provides several videos of work that have been established to support Stones/Water/Time/Breath, and catalogues the list of performances. In December 2019, Edition Wandelweiser released a recording of several live performances. In June 2020, this recording was acquired by the BBC for their archives. Listen to Stones/Water/Time/Breath
Since 2012, Stones/Water/Time/Breath has been given over 50 performances in a wide variety of locales internationally, taught in universities, been the subject of a multimedia installation in Poland, and published with video performances of Stones/Water/Time/Breath and commentary in online publications in France and Canada. Stones/Water/Time/Breath was a subject of two article publications that have received wide recognition and has been discussed in international keynotes. The text has been translated into four languages, French, Spanish, German and Polish, available here, and the composer has given numerous public talks about the piece.
In 2015, a “pocket card” that is about the size of a postcard that participants can take with them to their performances, supported in part by a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
On June 21st, 2016, participants in 11 cities and towns in 3 countries performed Stones/Water/Time/Breath as part of the international Make Music Day celebration. These performances inaugurated an annual event given across the United States and internationally, currently in the fifth year, where in 2020 it received first performances in Finland, Venezuela, and the UK.
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