Transcending the boundaries of genre, the Austrian, New-York-City-based composer-percussionist Lukas Ligeti has developed a musical style of his own that draws upon downtown New York experimentalism, contemporary classical music, jazz, electronica, as well as world music, particularly from Africa. Known for his non-conformity and diverse interests, Lukas creates music ranging from the through-composed to the free-improvised, often exploring polyrhythmic/polytempo structures, non-tempered
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
It was a very beautiful encouragement and recognition, and the first support of this kind that I received after moving to the U.S., so it made me feel all the more at home.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
I am still a composer and drummer/improvisor. I am also, after many years as a pure freelancer, currently working towards a PhD, which I'm doing in Johannesburg, South Africa although I continue to reside mainly in NYC. I have continued - and greatly expanded - my activities in intercultural collaborative work; and recently started Pidgin Culture, a small organization to conceptualize and facilitate this work. I have learned a huge amount as a composer and musician from collaborating with many amazing colleagues, and it seems like almost my entire professional life/career has happened since I received the Fellowship in 1996, with only a small fraction having happened before! To hear some of my work, go to: https://soundcloud.com/lukasligeti
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
My advice probably runs contrary to what most others would say these days. I say: concentrate on your art, be original, be yourself. Don't spend all your energy self-promoting and being a businessperson. You might have a hard time either way, but if you focus on the art, you will at least do something worthwhile.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Technology exploding; artistic concepts stagnating.
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