My performance of The Unanswered Question with my Juilliard class in the early 1950’s marked a turning point in my musical life. As I worked on the music with my students, I seemed to sense an active, omnibus, liberating power in action. Ives’s simultaneous presentation of wide spatial separation of performing forces, unrelated harmonic materials, colliding and violently contrasted melodic formations and rhythmic combinations of unpredictable irregularity have been points of departure for everything I’ve done since 1950.
Few composers care how the instruments are placed in the hall—it’s a matter of conventional routine. For me, it is an expressive requirement.