top of page
Gradations of Light

Gradations of Light are a suite of graphic scores made by Jo Ganter in collaboration with the American pianist and composer, Marilyn Crispell, and for her to play. Graphic scores are commonly made to direct musicians to play music experimentally. Ganter has chosen to work with a classically trained composer who has a long established and highly acclaimed practice in improvisation. 

Crispell has been a composer and performer of contemporary improvised music since 1978. For ten years, she was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble, and she has performed and recorded extensively as a soloist and with players on the American and international jazz scene, also working with dancers, poets, film-makers and visual artists. She has been the recipient of three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust composition commission. Ganter first heard her music when working with Raymond MacDonald on the project Running Under Bridges and immediately wanted to translate her music visually. 

Ganter worked with Crispell in Woodstock, NY, creating grid-like matrices in response to the verticals and horizontals of the trees in the surrounding woodland which are spindly and shallow rooted so that many fall and create dramatic horizontals among the many vertical trunks. Crispell introduced calligraphic lines and blocks of tone into the images which suggested the types of sounds she wanted to play. A suite of seven images were made in this way, editing each of them so that both the artist and the musician were happy with the formal visual qualities and with the sounds that Marilyn rehearsed to them. 

Marilyn recorded solos of each of the graphic scores and duets with David Rothenberg of all the scores except Midday. Ganter then animated the scores, using the recordings. Supported by the Pollock Krasner Foundation, Gradations of Light were exhibited and performed in Drawing Sound at the Kleinert James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, NY;  August 25 –October 16 2017.  

Before Dawn
bottom of page