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Electric Circus, Electric Ear and the Intermedia Center in Late-1960s New York


Composer Morton Subotnick moved to New York in 1966 for a brief but productive stay, establishing a small but notable electronic music studio affiliated with New York University. It was built around an early Buchla system and became Subotnick's personal workspace and a creative home for a cluster of emerging young composers. Subotnick also provided artistic direction for a new multimedia discoteque, the Electric Circus, an outgrowth of ideas he formulated earlier at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. A Monday evening series at the Circus, Electric Ear, helped spawn a cluster of venues for new music and multimedia. While the NYU studio and Electric Ear represent examples of centers operating outside commercial forces, the Electric Circus was entrepreneurial in nature, which ultimately compromised its artistic values.

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