By Roz Weis,
A Luther College professor from Decorah is taking on an impressive feat…and he’ll be exploring it slowly!
Luther Assistant Professor of Music and college organist Alexander Meszler is attempting the longest known single-performer concert of John Cage’s composition “As Slow As Possible” (ASLSP) during a 24-hour period.
The 24-hour performance is planned to start Sunday, Jan. 29, at 5 p.m., in the Sundt Organ Studio in Luther’s Jenson-Noble Hall of Music.
The event is free and open to the public at any time during the 24 hours.
“Come and go as you please,” Meszler commented.
Why this 24-hour musical undertaking? Meszler commented that he has been thinking of this for years.
“I figured I would do it while I’m still relatively young,” he said.
Meszler’s musical background is extensive.
A Fulbright recipient, Meszler started his work at Luther about six months ago. He has spent time in Europe researching secularism and the organ. He is a current member of the American Guild of Organists’ Committee on New Music. In 2019, he was named one of The Diapason’s “20 under 30” and he co-created “Walls of Sound: The Ecology of the Borderlands” which brought together collaborators from across disciplines of music, science, theater, art and activism.
He has studied at Syracuse University, the University of Kansas and most recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Organ Performance and Music Theory at Arizona State
University. He is helping edit a forthcoming online Encyclopedia of the Organ that will contains 4,000 articles about the organ. Before coming to Luther, he served as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University and Hamilton College.
Starts with “a rest”
Meszler said that when he starts playing the piece at 5 p.m. on that evening, he will appropriately begin with “a rest.” That rest (musical notation sign indicating the absence of sound) may last for a few measures. The note’s duration will be up to the organist.
A few reasonable, essential breaks are scheduled during the 24-hour recital, but Meszler said he plans to stay in performance mode as much as possible.
He will play the composition on the historic Sundt Organ, which was formerly housed in Koren Hall and was moved to Jenson-Noble Hall of Music on campus in the 1980s.
The 24-hour performance will be livestreamed on the Luther College website at luther.edu.
Full story in the January 26 Decorah Public Opinion.