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Marclay, Tone, Wolff - Event

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Yasunao Tone - Yasunao Tone

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Yasunao Tone

Yasunao Tone

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YASUNAO TONE was one of the first Japanese artists active in composing "events" and improvisational music. He has been active in the Fluxus movement since 1962 and has also been an organizer and participant in many important music and performance groups such as Group Ongaku, Hi-Red Center, Team Random (the first computer art group organized in Japan). Primarily a composer, Tone has worked in many media, creating pieces for electronics, computer systems, film, radio and television, as well as environmental art.

Tone was born in Tokyo in 1935 and graduated from Chiba Japanese National University in 1957 with a major in Japanese literature. Subsequently, he audited a program in musicology at Tokyo University of Arts. Here Tone founded the Group Ongaku in 1960, a group devoted to creating "event music" and improvisational music. He began participating in the Fluxus movement in 1962, and has been in events and shows in numerous places.

Tone's first concert, "One Man Show by a Composer", was held at the Miami Gallery in Tokyo in 1962. He then became an organizer as well as contributor to various avant-garde groups. These activities encompassed happenings, experimental music, performance and "art and technology". Some of the Tokyo groups involved were: The Yomiuri Independent Show, a group show that important 60's avant-garde artists were involved, where Tone had a sound installation in 1962; the Hi-Red Center, a happening group founded in 1963; Sweet Sixteen, an event festival in 1963; Team Random's Biogode Process Festival in 1966 (the first computer art festival in Japan, including Tone's Theater Piece for Computer); the Intermedia Festival in 1969, and Music for Tatsumi Hijikata and his Ankoku Butoh troupe. Tone also composed a great deal of experimental music for use in films, theater and dance pieces.

Since coming to the United States in 1972, Tone has composed numerous scores for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and has given solo concerts at the Kitchen, the Experimental Intermedia Foundation, Roulette, P.S.1, Guggenheim Museum SOHO, Chicago Art Club, Metronom, and other places, and participated in numerous Fluxus concerts. Since 1976, Tone has been designing musical compositions as a compound of cultural studies which have been ideas based on post-structuralist theories and audio visual materials compiled with ancient Oriental texts and musical sounds generated by electronic means. One of these works, Geography and Music, was commissioned by the American Dance Festival for Merce Cunningham's dance Roadrunners. It was part of the Cunningham Dance Company repertory between 1979 and 1986 and was heard in many festivals, including the Festival d'Automne à Paris, the John Cage Festival in San Juan and the Berlin Festival. Tone's work was also shown in Japon des Avantgardes, at Centre George Pompidou in Paris in 1986.

In 1990, Tone was commissioned to create a collaborative piece with Alison Knowles for the Hörspiele Festival by Westdeutcher Rundkunf Cologne, and was asked to participate in the Audio Art Festival at Whitney Museum of American Art. That same year, Tone was invited to the Fluxus exhibition at the Venezia Biennale to exhibit visual work and engage in live performances. In 1992-3, he was invited to the retrospective FLUXUX shows at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Tone was also featured in group shows such as Japanese Art after 1945 at the Guggenheim Soho in 1994-5, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1995, the Goval Conceptualism, Queens Museum in 1999, and the WalkerAart Center in 1999-2000. In 2001, Tone took part in Bitstream, a digital art show at the Whitney. He also participated in Pulse, the perfomance series related to Bitstream. 2001 saw him participate in the Yokohama Triennale, Mutations Tokyo, and Do It, at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil. In 2002, Tone was invited to participate in the New Music Festival at Wesleyan University and the Lovebytes Festival in the UK, Sonar 2002, the Ars Electronica Festival and Spectacle Vivant, at Paris' Centre George Pompidou. In early 2003, he took part in the Sonic Light Festival in Amsterdam.

In 1979, Tone was awarded a CAPS grant in multi-media. In 1982, he received an NEA grant for a collaborative work with Broudel Cummings and Senga Nengdi. In 1985, Tone received a commission grant from the New York State Council On the Arts, for flutist Barbara Held. In 1986, Tone received a New York Foundation for the Artist Fellowship. In 1995, he took part in Harvestwork's Artist in Residence program at Studio Pass. Tone received an Individual Artist Award for Media from New York State Council on the Arts in 1996 and the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica prize in Digital Music in 2002.