Randy Gibson is a composer and performer living and working in New York City. He is the co-founder of Avant Media, and produces the Avant Media Festival, which showcases experimental music from the last 100 years and today. The Fourth Annual Avant Media Festival will take place February 15-23.
As has been mentioned in other interviews, you left the traditional university education route to go to NYC, eventually becoming a student of La Monte Young. Could you talk a bit about the circumstances that prompted the move away from academia?
Well, I’ve always had a difficult relationship with organized education, even from a very early age. I attended Montessori school, and I think the self-guided nature of that was extremely beneficial for me. In high school, I was in a sort of unique situation in that the town where I grew up had this amazing University, and a program where, as long as it wasn’t offered by the high school, you could take classes there. So I took full advantage of that, I studied theory and ear training, I took a fantastic class in 20th Century theory where I was one of only three students, and I took an interdisciplinary performance class helmed by my then composition teacher, Michael Theodore. This was a truly extraordinary class, and I met some amazing people and learned how to collaborate. I founded Avant Media with Ana Baer-Carrillo who I met in this class.
When I went to the university full-time, this freedom was suddenly gone, and I couldn’t pursue the things that I truly wanted to pursue. It was actually an incredibly easy decision for me to leave the composition program there and move to New York and just see what happened.