Multi-talented UB Creative Associate (1969-1975) and former music department faculty member Julius Eastman (1940-1990) is the subject of a new book, Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music (University of Rochester Press, 2015) co-edited by Renée Levine-Packer (Coordinator and Managing director of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts 1965-1978 and author of This Life of Sounds: Evenings for New Music in Buffalo) and Mary Jane Leach. The text includes chapters by both editors, David Borden, R. Nemo Hill, Kyle Gann, John Patrick Thomas, Ryan Dohoney, Andrew Hanson-Dvoracek, Matthew Mendez, and Luciano Chessa.
Eastman was perhaps best known for his vivid performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King. His performance with the Fires of London under the direction of the composer has remained in print since its release in 1971. However, there were no commercial recordings available of Eastman’s own compositions until Paul Tai and Mary Jane Leach produced the 3-CD compilation Unjust Malaise for New World Records in 2005 (including two archival recordings from the University at Buffalo Music Library).
The new book provides the most exhaustive examination to date of the many facets of Eastman’s life and career. Congratulations to Mary Jane and Renée on their collaborative effort to keep the legacy of Julius Eastman alive for a new generation of listeners, performers, and researchers.