Cart 0

bowerbird presents

Julius Eastman:
That Which Is Fundamental

curated by Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Dustin Hurt

presented in conjunction with the Eastman Estate, and in collaboration with Slought and The Rotunda

Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental  is an interdisciplinary, multi-artist project that examines the life, work, and resurgent influence of Julius Eastman, a gay African American composer and performer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died homeless at the age of 49, leaving an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings.  The culmination of more than three years of research, this first iteration of this project will take place in Philadelphia in May 2017.  Events include four major concerts - including several modern “premieres” of recently recovered works - and a multi-disciplinary exhibition featuring archival materials and work by ten contemporary artists who engage with Eastman and the fragmented nature of his legacy.    
That Which Is Fundamental is the first comprehensive examination of Eastman's legacy to work alongside the Eastman Estate, an organization led by Gerry Eastman to gather together, organize, preserve, disseminate, and generally further the work of his brother, Julius.

Julius Eastman: That Which Is Fundamental is a project of Bowerbird, a Philadelphia based non profit dedicated to presenting experimental music and related art forms.  For more info visit:


Curatorial Team

Photo by Ryan Collerd.

Photo by Ryan Collerd.

Tiona Nekkia Mcclodden

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a curator, visual artist, and filmmaker whose work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. Themes examined in McClodden’s films and works have been re-memory and more recently narrative biomythography, and shared ideas, values, and beliefs within the African Diaspora-what she calls, “Black mentifact”. Her work is interested in exploring intersubjectivities within Blackness and Black communities as a tool for creating insider perspectives within film, time based works, and objects. McClodden has been awarded the 2016 Pew Fellowship.  McClodden lives and works in North Philadelphia, PA.  [WEB]

Photo by Ben Tran

Photo by Ben Tran


Dustin Hurt is a curator, composer, researcher, and founding director of Bowerbird whose work engages with experimentalism as a timeless and recurrent artistic practice by presenting Euro-American experimental music alongside other types of rarely heard and little understood music (folk, world music, and Early music).  Prior to his three years of research on Julius Eastman, he curated and produced large multi event retrospectives of the composers John Cage, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Morton Feldman.  [WEB]


Photo by Giorgia Fanelli

Photo by Giorgia Fanelli


Mary Jane Leach is a composer, researcher, and author, who has spent nearly two decades leading the charge to find the music of Julius Eastman.  Her early efforts culminated in the landmark 2005 release of "Unjust Malaise", a 3CD set of archival recordings of Eastman's music.  More recently she co-edited, along with Reneé Levine Packer, the book "Gay Guerrilla", the first book dedicated to Eastman's life and work.  [WEB]


Thank You.

Thank you to Mary Jane Leach for leading the search for Eastman's lost work, and for generous sharing of time and information as we continue in her footsteps.  

Thank you to Reneé Levine Packer for the deeply researched biography and the personal accounts of Julius in Buffalo.  Thank you to Jan Williams for his insights into the music and showing us around Buffalo.  

Thank you to Gerry Eastman and Peter Thall of the Eastman Estate for believing in the work we are doing and allowing us unparalleled access to research and source materials.  We look forward to working with you for years to come. 

And an enormous thank you to Dr. John Bewley, music librarian and archivist at the University of Buffalo (SUNY) music library, who's tireless work with the Eastman archive ensures that generations will have access to this extraordinary artist.

Thank you to the all of the participants in our October 2015 workshop: Thomas, Choinacky, Renee Levine Packer, Ryan Wayne Dohoney, Kyle Gann, Mary Jane Leach, Jace Clayton, Tracie Morris,Kimberly Drew, Jerrell Jackson, James Ijames, chukwumaa, Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, André Carrington, Chris McIntyre, Kyle Austin, and Stanford Thompson. 

Thank you to Gina Renzi and the staff of The Rotunda, Aaron Levy and the team at Slought, to Petr Kotik of the S.E.M. Ensemble, Tim Griffin of the Kitchen, Paul Tai of New World Records, the Bowerbird team (Heather Mease, Colin Manjoney, Angus MacDonald, Kyle Blessing), Arin Ahlum Hanson, and countless others that contributed in some many ways to this project.  

And most of all, thank you to Julius.  


Funding Credit.

Major support for THAT WHICH IS FUNDAMENTAL has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Presser Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.