Mark Applebaum

The Bible without God

Live Mouseketier Performances

Innova 649




CD 1

1-13.† The Bible without God (2005) 34:00

14. Garden of Memory (2004) 7:07

15. Essl Museum (2002) 28:45

Total 70:02


CD 2

1. Wired Gardens (2003) 16:06

2-5.† The Mind Altering Concert (2005) 57:46

Total 73:57


† continuous performances; additional track indexes are provided for convenience only


Liner Notes


Oblique Angles

March 12, 2005 marked a 12-year reunion.  In 1993, David Tudor, then music director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, invited me to compose music for a 90-minute Cunningham Event that the company was performing in Minneapolis.  Entitled Flux-Arena-Rama, the Event was scheduled at the Target Center and was co-sponsored by the American Composers Forum and the Walker Art Center, both of which were undertaking a vast Fluxus retrospective at the same time.  Those 90 minutes changed my life.


I performed on three original electroacoustic sound-sculptures, instruments intended equally for their extraordinary sonic qualities and arresting visual impact.  Built out of junk, hardware, and found objects mounted on soundboards, I played them with chopsticks, violin bows, wind-up toys, plectrums, and my hands, modifying the sound, often in obscene excess, with a battery of live electronic gadgetry.  (A 27-minute excerpt of this performance appears on Innova 511.)


On the morning of the performance I asked Merce if he wanted to hear some of the music I would play that evening.  With a glint in his eye he instantly responded “Oh no!  We’ll hear that during the performance.”  The crew set up the floor and the sound system.  The company began its morning class.  I tightened the mousetrap’s threaded rods and double-checked my doorstops, shoehorns, and Astroturf.  Meanwhile, Merce was off in a quiet corner, cogitating on the uniqueness of the space (a basketball court, a space surrounded by the audience) and choreographed the entire dance.


It would be misleading to imply that he started from scratch.  He was, in fact, making a unique sequence of dance phrases, passages of choreography that the company had in its repertoire, and when I say, “had in its repertoire” I mean knew in its sleep with unshakable precisions, based on an internal sense of time, and not tethered to a particular music.  The dance that Merce created that day was complex and beautiful, an idiosyncratic series of long and short motives, sometimes in isolation and sometimes juxtaposed with other simultaneities—passages danced by solitary bodies and others by trio, quintets, and up to the full company, phrases oriented in every direction.


My music aspired to similar complexity and beauty.  But it was never intentionally coordinated with the dance.  Among their contributions to the world of art—and the art of collaboration—Merce Cunningham and John Cage invited us to experience the mysterious beauty of cohabiting media.  The music and the dance, by chance, have coincidental moments of seeming congruity.  And by chance, there arise coincidental moments of seeming polarity—like when the dance is slow and lyrical while the music is hyperactive and dissonant.  But most of the time is spent in a fluid and abstract middle ground in which music and dance seem to collide at oblique angles.  The audience is challenged to take this in, to witness unpredicted concurrence and to become aware of the mercurial manner in which their attention is directed from eye to ear and back again.


I’ve never gotten over this joyful experience in 1993.  Although fleeting, it subtly changed the way that I compose all of my music and, more important, it altered the way that I look at the world.  I am delighted that a Cunningham Event happened on the Stanford campus in 2005.  It was an opportunity to share this unusual and exciting process—the collaborative creation of a once-only, site-specific intersection of music and dance—with my own community and the chance for a reunion.  I am particularly pleased to have involved so many members of the Stanford community in its realization.  Thirty-five eager students, faculty, and staff performed a 24-hour tag-team realization of Erik Satie’s Vexations for solo piano prior to the site-specific event.  The eighteen manic members of [sic]—the Stanford Improvisation Collective—performed the event’s overture (an outlaw rendering of John Zorn’s Cobra), and all sixteen intrepid students from my seminar Silence! The Music of John Cage are heard on this CD performing the score The Bible without God.


The Bible without God

In 1963 a New York Times critic argued that the Merce Cunningham Dance Company would be more successful without John Cage and his music.  Village Voice dance critic Jill Johnston responded that this would be like “the Bible without God.”


My score, The Bible without God, consists of thirteen parts performed on two antiphonal soundstages flanking the audience.  From one soundstage I performed seven passages on my latest sound-sculpture, the Mouseketier.  Built at Stanford in 2001, the Mouseketier has new innovations, but it also distills the best properties and materials from the earlier instruments I played in the 1993 collaboration.


The seven Mouseketier passages alternate with six short pieces played from the opposing soundstage.  These pieces were composed for the sixteen talented students in my John Cage seminar.


Sixteen (track 2)

Sixteen is scored for bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, celesta, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales, triangles, cowbells, tam-tam, glass windchimes, guitar, violin, cello, contrabass, and variable natural objects—leaves, branches, etc.  Like John Cage’s late “number” pieces, the players, synchronized by stopwatches, choose when to articulate given notes within specified time durations.


Mobile for Paper and Wristwatch: Alien Argot (track 4)

The second piece is actually two compositions performed simultaneously.  Eleven players performed Mobile for Paper, a piece whose “objects”—specific molestations of a piece of paper (crumpling, tearing at various speeds, flicking, rubbing, folding, etc.)—can may be played in any order.  The remaining five players sang Wristwatch: Alien Argot, a series of nonsense phonemes, vocal clicks, and wheezes notated in the international phonetic alphabet and sung in an indeterminate canon.


48 Objects (track 6)

In 48 Objects each player chooses three objects that make interesting sounds when rubbed, shaken, tapped, scratcheds, blown, broken, twisted, torn, wound, folded, dropped, or waved.  The score is reminiscent of early pieces by John Cage’s colleague Morton Feldman: boxes, corresponding to units of time, are either empty (to indicate silence) or filled with an integer (to indicate articulations made by the corresponding object).


Keys, Strings, and Pencils (track 8)

At the heart of this work is a prepared piano, an instrument pioneered by Cage in which the strings have been overrun by various objects and attachments that drastically modify the piano’s timbre.  The ensemble is divided into three groups.  Five pianists perform at the keyboard, three at a time in tag-team fashion; when one performer wishes to play, he or she simply touches the shoulder of a pianist who then vacates a position at the keyboard.  A second group consists of three artists who draw abstract notational specifications on cards with pencils; their drawing is audible because they sit at amplified desks.  The third group, eight players standing in a single-file line, wait for the artists to produce completed cards which they immediately render in sound on the inside of the piano—plucking or scratching strings, playing directly with mallets or other objects.  As soon as they complete their card, they return to the line to await the creation of another.


Circulation (track 10)

Circulation is based on the Stanford campus map whose various icons have been rendered on 32 transparent sheets.  Each player independently aligns three sheets—a structure sheet (e.g. buildings, fields), and an object sheet (e.g. parking lot codes, loading zones), and a path sheet (e.g. the walking route of John Cage seminar students from their individual dormitories to the Event site, the walking route of campus sponsors from their offices to the Event site).  On top of this is placed a window in the exact shape of the Campus Drive loop; this window circumscribes the visual information that may be interpreted by the players who individually determine the meaning of the lines, shapes, and points, much in the manner of Cage’s process pieces.


Wristwatch: Geology (track 12)

Wristwatch: Geology is a composition for stones tapped together.  The score appears on the face of customized wristwatches fabricated specifically for the piece.  Players follow the second hand as it passes over various shapes.  (A circle indicates one tap, a square four taps, a curled line rubbing, etc.)  Because the second hands are not synchronized, the stones are heard in a canonic relationship.



The Bible without God was performed by:

Alex Bandza, trumpet, piano, found objects, paper, stones

Krystal Barghelame, celesta, piano, found objects, paper, stones

Molly Butcher, cowbells, voice, found objects, stones

Justine Lai, tam-tam, found objects, paper, stones

Henry Lee, cello, euphonium, piano, found objects, voice, stones

Cheri Li, violin, found objects, paper, stones

Michael Lindquist, contrabass, found objects, voice, stones

Spartacus Locus, bass clarinet, saxophone, found objects, paper, stones

Andy Meyerson, vibraphone, found objects, paper, stones

Kevin Montag, glockenspiel, piano, found objects, paper, stones

Aubrey MuĖoz, triangles, found objects, voice, stones

Drew Peterson, xylophone, piano, found objects, paper, stones

Karl Pichotta, crotales, violin, found objects, paper, stones

Nick Schlag, guitar, found objects, voice, stones

Matt Spitz, trombone, contrabass, found objects, paper, stones

Julianne Stern, glass windchimes, found objects, paper, stones

Mark Applebaum, mousketier electroacoustic sound-sculpture with live electronics


Garden of Memory, Essl Museum, Wired Gardens, and the Mind Altering Concert were solo mouseketier electroacoustic sound-sculpture performances with live electronics.

Does this last sentence belong here?


Culture Sculpture

Only one person can be the best at something.  Ralf Laue of Germany, for example, stacked 555 dominoes on a single supporting domino.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records this accomplishment has never been equaled.  Presuming that you are not Ralf Laue, it seems safe to say that you are not the best domino stacker.  This isn’t a criticism; most people are not the best at any one thing.  Likewise you shouldn’t get upset with yourself if you are not the worst person at something.  This status seems to be less attractive, but it is an equally exclusive distinction.  Guinness has not been particularly scrupulous in its record-keeping of worsts, but suffice it to say, you are probably not listed in its pages as the worst at something. 


But that’s just you.  I am the best and the worst at something.  In fact, it is the very same thing.  And does anyone care?


I have never been and never will be the world’s greatest or worst pianist.  I started piano lessons when I was seven.  Years later, and after about 8,000 agonizing hours of practice, I could play some moderately demanding classical music and I was reasonably adept as a jazz improviser.  Audiences applauded at my concerts and some musicians even looked up to me.  These affirmations conferred a respectable social standing within my local music milieu and implied that I was a good pianist.  But despite this, I knew that there were just as many pieces that were well beyond my technical and interpretative abilities.  And the more I compared myself with my favorite jazz pianists, the more I discovered my own inadequacies.  Once, while living in Copenhagen during college, I attended an Oscar Peterson concert.  The first half was inspiring; but by the end of the concert my awe had degenerated into a resolve to quit jazz piano. It seemed that I could never join the elite echelon of pros who constituted my musical superheroes and, to tell the truth, when the going got tough, I was uneasy being average.


Thankfully I did not abandon the piano and my skills improve every day.  However, I continue to oscillate between euphoric confidence in my abilities at one moment and the despair of mediocrity in the next.  In 1990 I chose to respond to this dilemma.  More out of instinct than by design, I invented a new instrument: the mousetrap. 


The mousetrap is an electro-acoustic percussion contraption, a musical Frankenstein built out of assorted junk and found objects—threaded rods, nails, wire strings stretched through pulleys and turnbuckles, plastic combs, bronze braising rod blow-torched and twisted, doorstops, shoehorns, ratchets, squeaky steel caster wheels, springs, lead and PVC pipe, corrugated copper gas tubing, toilet tank flotation bulbs, Astroturf, parts from a Volvo gearbox, a metal Schwinn bicycle logo, and mousetraps.  These disparate elements are mounted on a soundboard and, assisted by contact pickups, amplified through speakers.  To collect parts for the mousetrap I rummaged through junkyards, garages, surplus stores, and warehouses.  Suspicious hardware store clerks eyed me nervously as I conducted investigations into the acoustical properties of their wares.  It was a feeling of accomplishment when, weeks into my research, the same salesmen would excitedly welcome me into the store, giddy with their own epiphanies: “Mark, listen to how this thing sounds when you hit it with this!”  My project became an informal and unexpected arts outreach program.


The mousetrap turned out to be only the beginning of an obsession, the first in a series of original instruments that I’ve designed and constructed during more than a decade.  Its progeny include the mini-mouse, the midi-mouse, the duplex mausphon, and six micro mice.  I call these instruments sound-sculptures because I am just as concerned with their arresting visual impact as with their astounding sonic quality.  The most recent sound-sculpture is the mouseketier, so-named for its multi-tier design.  I play it with a number of different strikers and gadgets including Japanese chopsticks, knitting needles, combs, thimbles, plectrums, surgical tubing, a violin bow, brushes, various wind-up toys, corrugated Lego rail, and my hands.


Inventing a new instrument provides immediate gratification: one instantly becomes the world’s greatest player of that instrument.  The problem is that one abruptly realizes that one is also the world’s worst player.  So the satisfaction that comes from being novel is tempered by the fact that there is no communal standard by which to form a meaningful judgment, no cultural practice.  The goal then is to envision—to invent—the skills that might constitute virtuosity on a unique instrument.  Or, to think of it in historical terms, to develop a classic and then mannerist state of the art from a pre-classic antecedent.  There is ample latitude to do this within a culture of one.  But it is also a lonely and challenging undertaking in the absence of a community to inform and guide progress.


There are many ways to measure the success of something, but to a considerable—and embarrassing—extent, I measure my success against that of others.  As a pianist I look intuitively at the vast community of piano players who provide abundant measuring sticks.  Experts can make particularly sensitive measurements, but even the layperson is qualified to make judgments.  Most of us, at least those who have participated broadly in Western culture, can make a crude determination of whether a pianist is a beginning, intermediate, or advanced player.  Furthermore, we have an approximate idea of what kind of effort and training might nurture the player’s progress.  We can do this because we are familiar with the cultural practices associated with playing the piano.  But what steps should I take to improve myself as a sound-sculpture artist?  How do I assess my progress?  What are the correct performance techniques?  Do these questions even make sense in a culture of one?


When I started to invent instruments I found myself in a cultural vacuum.  But I soon discovered compasses by which to navigate the new terrain.  First, I certainly did not invent the idea of the sound-sculpture.  While my instruments are unique, they might be thought of as contributions to an entire genus of sound-sculptures, some of which inspired mine.  From this observation I realized that I was part of a community, that I was complementing a cultural discourse already in progress.  It was small not large, marginal not mainstream, but it was a community nevertheless, one that provided ideas for my own development. 


Second, I drew upon more generic aesthetic models from art and music.  I considered samples of art that I admired, those paintings, sculptures, textiles, and architecture that seemed to teach me lessons about form, rhythm, symmetry, and texture.  And I considered traditional orchestral and folk instruments and reflected on their timbral features, intonation, dynamic range, and articulation.  These were all observations that informed my own approach to building instruments and playing them.  As unconventional as my sound-sculptures are, they have a kinship with all musical instruments and this suggests that my work is part of a very expansive community indeed. 


And third, having dedicated myself to the development of sound-sculptures for more than a decade I was able to apprehend the richness of my own history.  With each new sound-sculpture I refined the ergonomics, better integrated the electronic components, and improved the soundboard design.  With each successive concert I added to a personal but increasingly detailed legacy of performance practice, further broadened my technical facility, and defined an idiomatic method.  Compositionally I found myself referring to recent and earlier aesthetic orientations.  (In performance I will nostalgically think to myself “Ah, remember how I used to approach the doorstop in the mid-1990s?”)  It is an autobiographical narrative, but it spans time and thereby provides historical perspective.  By looking back, I see that I have come some distance and this distance urges me to look forward.


Some composers might disagree, but having the sound of a doorstop among the range of timbral possibility is, for me, a huge (and now indispensable) advantage.  Being able to digitally reverberate that doorstop has its charms too.  So in my recent research I have focused on modifying the sounds with a battery of electronic devices.  These devices allow me to reverberate the tone, add distortion or echo, change the pitch, and warp the timbre in countless ways.  I can accompany myself in performance by recording and playing back live multi-track loops, make them sweep to the left or right in the stereo field, speed them up, or slow them down.  Perhaps just a trivial ornamentation at first, the electronics have become a fundamental part of what now might be called a hyper-instrument.  There is a subtle performance technique in the use of my electronics, and their integration with the sound-sculptures requires deftness and practice.  In my more delusional moments, I think of myself as a super-coordinated human, like a virtuoso hiphop deejay operating his or her playback equipment, or a NASA test pilot finessing complex flight controls.


My current problem is that it is impractical to carry all of my electronic gizmos to every performance.  Even though I have developed a clever system by which non-essential, replaceable, and robust pieces fly in my suitcase (usually wrapped in pajamas or sweaters) while the more delicate pieces are crammed into my carry-on luggage, I still bump into the airlines’ baggage limits.  Consequently, I have one behemoth set-up for local performances, a modest set-up for domestic performances that require travel by airplane, and an even smaller one for performances that necessitate international travel.  I think it would be ludicrous to ask a pianist to perform one night on a piano with the customary 88 keys, the next night on a piano with no black notes, and the next night on a piano with no sustain pedal.  Yet this is comparable to the musical challenges posed by the frequent changes in the ergonomics and functions of my set-up from performance to performance.  As such, I have multiple hyper-instruments to master, not just one.


Practical considerations—mundane things like gravity, money, and air travel—really do have a puissant impact on the music.  Even if I was artistically inclined, I can’t float around the stage during my performances; neither can I afford to build a sound-sculpture out of gold; and, as mentioned already, my baggage allowance presents another constraint.  In fact, the mouseketier case was designed first on the basis of the maximum airline baggage dimensions; the instrument came second.  In this regard, the culture of air travel, as distant from music as it may seem, has had a direct impact on the physical circumscription of my invention that, in turn, influences the music that I create.


I cannot say whether or not my sound-sculptures have had an important impact on the world.  They have been seen and heard in concerts throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Asia.  And recordings of these instruments may have traveled further.  I do know that they have engendered some fascinating intersections with other artists.  Among these were opportunities to use my sound-sculptures in a collaboration with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; to compose a piece for the Paul Dresher Ensemble that coupled my instruments with traditional ones like violin and bassoon; to perform compositions for mouseketier with orchestra, chamber ensemble, and jazz band; and to realize my Concerto for Florist and Ensemble in a performance that was surely both the best and worst of its genre.  The sound-sculptures seem to provoke interesting responses too.  Children are particularly attracted to them and display none of the psychological encumbrances that make exploration tentative by adults.  I am thrilled when, after a performance, I overhear a bunch of concertgoers—usually young persons—announce that they are headed straight to the garage to build their own sound-sculptures.  And perhaps most gratifying, the sound-sculptures have challenged some of my students to build their own instruments and to think about what might constitute virtuosity in a new medium.


With all of this interest in my sound-sculptures, it is clear that one day conservatories of music will contain whole departments dedicated to the training of mouseketier players.  College students will debate the merits of one mouseketier player over another.  And the common person on the street will be able to distinguish between beginning, intermediate, and advanced mouseketier performers.  Okay, I realize that this is probably just a fantasy.  But before we dismiss this unlikely scenario entirely, we should keep in mind that all of our traditional instruments were, once upon a time, singular, new, and alien.  At some point in our history it was unfathomable that a keyboard instrument such as the piano would enjoy such broad appeal, familiarity, and legitimacy.  One need only turn to the percussion instruments of the orchestra to observe a more recent evolution of cultural cachet.  The classical orchestra typically included only timpani.  The exceptional use of the triangle in Mozart’s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio was identified by European audiences, in its time, as a transparent reference to exotic Asia Minor.  But in my generation, the triangle was simply one of many available percussion instruments in my kindergarten teacher’s box of musical tools—and I grew up in Chicago, not Turkey.  Similarly, my great-grandparents might have apprehended the xylophone and the marimba as icons of Southeast Asian or Central American cultures; today, however, these are indeed among the prosaic instruments of focus in a Western music education.  So goes the fusion, colonization, and evolution of culture.


If not a survival of the fittest instruments, there is a survival of the most popular ones.  And if not a natural selection, there is a cultural selection that has bequeathed to us the rich and evolving musical traditions we enjoy today.  Conversely, for better and worse, we have lost numerous instruments and instrumental practices, some of which we know of dimly through historical documents and others that we can only imagine.  One of our pleasant myths is that the art that has survived throughout history has done so because of its intrinsic greatness.  But perhaps its survival simply indicates that it was useful to those who had the agency to insure its longevity.  If that is the case, then all of our actions—whether the invention of a new instrument, the writing of a poem, the reading of books and viewing of films, the tasting of food, the consumption of advertising, the practices we keep in business, law, dance, and sport, the ideas we debate in politics and philosophy, the ceremonies we undertake in our religions and in the rituals of our daily lives, the stories that we tell and the memories that we keep alive, the celebration or destruction of traditions, and the growth of new practices—are cultural votes, forces that shape the world that future generations will inherit.


Mark Applebaum (b. 1967, Chicago) is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory and John Philip Coghlan Fellow at Stanford University where he received the 2003 Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching.  He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied with Brian Ferneyhough, Joji Yuasa, Rand Steiger, and Roger Reynolds.  His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia with notable performances at the Darmstadt summer sessions, the Bourges Festival in France, ICMC in Beijing and Singapore, Italy’s Festival Spaziomusica, the Young Nordic Music Festival in Sweden, Sonic Circuits in Hong Kong, Amsterdam’s Great Virtuoso Slugfest, SEAMUS, strictly Ballroom series at Stanford University’s CCRMA, the Woodstockhausen Festival in Santa Cruz, ISCM, the BONK Festival, the College Music Society, the Southeastern Composers League, NWEAMO, the Florida Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, the Northwestern University New Music Marathon, the Kansas City Electronic Music Festival, Piano Spheres, SIGGRAPH, the Time Canvas Festival in Antwerp, the North American Saxophone Alliance, Stockholm New Music, the Harvest Moon Festival in Montreal, the Minneapolis SPARK Festival, the American Composers Orchestra’s OrchestraTech, the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, UC Berkeley’s CNMAT, Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival in Oakland, Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center, the Essl Museum in Austria, the Unyazi Festival in Johannesburg, Belgium’s TRANSIT Festival, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at Electronic Music Midwest where he served as the 2002 visiting artist, and as featured composer at the 2004 University of Michigan Eclectronica Microfestival.


He has received commissions from Betty Freeman, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Vienna Modern Festival, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, Zeitgeist, MANUFACTURE (Tokyo), the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Harmida Trio, Belgium’s Champ D’Action, Festival ADEvantgarde in Munich, the Jerome Foundation, and the American Composers Forum, among others. His music has been played by the Arditti String Quartet, Speculum Musicae, Musica Nova, Zeitgeist, newEar, SONOR, Inauthentica, red fish blue fish percussion ensemble, the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, the University of Illinois New Music Ensemble, the NYU New Music Ensemble, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, the Callithumpian Consort, Skin & Bones, MANUFACTURE, players under the direction of Harvey Sollberger, Mark Menzies, and Dennis Russell Davies, and some of the finest solo artists of our time, including Steven Schick, Irvine Arditti, Gloria Cheng, Craig Hultgren, Helen Bledsoe, Magnus Andersson, and Bertram Turetzky.  Performances of his chamber music can be heard on his CD Catfish on Tzadik.  His orchestral works appear on the Innova CD Martian Anthropology, and solo acoustic works appear on the Innova CD Disciplines.


In 1997 Applebaum received the American Music Center’s Stephen Albert Award and an artist residency fellowship at the Villa Montalvo artist colony in Northern California.  He has engaged in numerous intermedia collaborations, including That Brainwave Chick (with neural artist Paras Kaul), Archittetura Redux (with film-maker Iara Lee, Caipirinha Productions), Concerto for Florist and Ensemble (with florist James DelPrince), The Bible without God (with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Aphoristic Fragment (with animator Anna Chupa), Interactive Sound Pavilion (with architect David Perkes), Spring Migration (with choreographer Brittany Brown), and projects with the laptop DJ ensembles Digital Cutup Lounge (Hong Kong) and Tricky OL (Japan).


Since 1990 Applebaum has built electroacoustic instruments out of junk, hardware, and found objects for use as both compositional and improvisational tools.  His instrument, the Mouseketier, is the featured solo instrument on the piece Agitprop.  Mousetrap Music, a CD of sound-sculpture improvisations can be heard on the Innova label.  Also on Innova is The Janus ReMixes: Exercises in Auto-Plundering, a CD of eleven electronic works whose source material corresponds exclusively to recordings of the eleven acoustic compositions that constitute his Janus Cycle (1992-1996).  Hybrid pieces featuring both acoustic and electronic instrumentation can be heard on the 2003 Innova CD Intellectual Property, a recording that also features his piece Pre-Composition that earned the 2005 second place emsPrize from Electronic Music Stockholm.


Applebaum is also active as a jazz pianist.  He has concertized from Sumatra to the Czech Republic, performing a solo recital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso sponsored by the American Embassy.  In 1994 he received the Jazz Prize of the Southern California Jazz Society and in 1999 the Mark Applebaum Trio performed in the first Mississippi arts event broadcast live over the World Wide Web.  At present he performs with his father, Bob Applebaum of Chicago, in the Applebaum Jazz Piano Duo.  The duo recently made its Tunisian debut at the Municipal Theater in Tunis.  Their first studio recording, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree, is available on Innova.


Prior to his current appointment, Applebaum taught at UCSD, Mississippi State University, and Carleton College where he served as Dayton-Hudson Visiting Artist.  He has been invited to give lectures and master classes at various institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, Oberlin, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Brooklyn College, the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, Hong Kong University, the JML/Irino Foundation in Tokyo, the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria, the Universities of Toronto, Michigan, Illinois, North Texas, Oregon, California at San Diego, California at Berkeley, San Francisco State, Bowling Green State University, Lawrence University, Depaul University, the College of Santa Fe, the Janacek Akademie, Czech Republic, and at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club.  Additional information and announcements of upcoming performances may be found at





Where, When?

The Bible without God was performed on White Plaza, Stanford University on the afternoon of March 12, 2005 in concert with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company who had been in residence on campus for one week.


Garden of Memory was performed at the Chapel of Chimes in Oakland, California on June 21, 2004 as part of an annual summer solstice walk-through concert in which several dozen performers occupy unique spaces throughout Julia Morgan’s idiosyncratic and stunningly beautiful columbarium.


Essl Museum was performed on June 26, 2002 at Sammlung Essl in Klosterneuburg, Austria as part of this extraordinary museum’s concert series devoted to experimental contemporary music.


Wired Gardens was performed at the Cantor Art Center, Stanford University on September 7, 2003 during a CCRMA extravaganza involving multiple performances scattered across the museum grounds whose sounds were piped into a central auditorium.


The Mind Altering Concert was performed late at night in a darkened Toyon Hall, Stanford University on April 7, 2005 with weary and/or hallucinating students laying about rugs and couches.




Notes on The Bible without God were adapted from the Encounter: Merce program for White Plaza Event #1 presented by Lively Arts at Stanford University.

Culture Sculpture originally appeared in Community Matters, a reader for writers, 2nd Edition, edited by Marjorie Ford and Elizabeth Schave Sills; published by Addison Wesley Longman Press, 2004.


This CD was funded by the generosity of John Bravman, Stanford University Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Freshman-Sophomore College & Potter College


Thanks to those who contributed to the making of CD:

John Bravman

Shari Palmer & the Stanford Introductory Seminars Program

Stanford Lively Arts including Robin Fribance, Ashli Lewis, & Lois Wagner

Presenters Karlheinz Essl, Sarah Cahill, Patience Young, Giancarlo Aquilanti, & Chris Chafe

Audio Engineers Jay Kadis, Matt Wright, Sandy Greenfield

Stanford Music Department including Mark Dalrymple, Beth Youngdoff, Stephen Hinton, & Jonathan Berger

Elizabeth Schave Sills

Merce Cunningham, Trevor Carlson

The students of Silence! The Music of John Cage