The Itchy and Scratchy Orchestra

Harvard Concert (2007)


1. Cornelius Cardew "Treatise" pages 4, 13, 15
2. Christian Wolff "You Blew It"
3. Itchy & Scratchy Orchestra "Scratch Music"

Recorded May 3, 2007 by Ernst Karel
Sert Gallery, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge Mass.

Liner Notes (PDF)

The Itchy and Scratchy Orchestra is a collective studio project undertaken by the participants in my "Noisy Art" course at Harvard.

The course has two objectives: one is to explore the poetics of noisy art, using John Cage's class in composition at the New School as a starting point.

The other is a studio project, in response to this question: how might this group make art from noise?

The participants are drawn from all disciplines, though the course is offered through the art department (Visual and Environmental Studies). No musical background is required.

As a starting point for their studio work, I gave the group examples of graphic scores, prose scores, Fluxus event scores, happenings, and information about Cornelius Cardew's ideas for the Scratch Orchestra.

For instruments, we visited the local Goodwill and I invited them to choose anything that might make noise.

The group made all the final choices for the program and performance.

My hope is that they maybe experienced something like what Cardew described, when he wrote in 1971:

"Once you have written music - not just dreamed it but actually committed it to paper . . . you can never be the same again, even if you never write another note. Once you know what it is like to move in that sphere, you always want to return there."

-- Damon Krukowski

Cornelius Cardew in UbuWeb Sound
Cornelius Cardew in UbuWeb Historical