Crowds and Power: What Happens When Instruments Find Their Way Into The Wrong Hands


On October 22–23, 1982, The Kitchen presented Crowds and Power: What Happens When Instruments Find Their Way Into The Wrong Hands by Elliott Sharp. The performance by twenty musicians used many instruments such as trumpets, trombones, soprano saxes, baritone and alto saxes, violins, guitars, electric basses, and percussion. Sharp himself played the fretless guitar bass, bass clarinet, and soprano saxophone. 


The 48-minute ensemble drew from Elias Canetti’s book Crowds and Power to explore themes of, as Sharp describes, “individual freedom, rigid structure, total chaos, cooperation, decay, war, [and] growth.” As the composer, Sharp organized the general plan of the performance—the time and the groupings of the musicians within the ensemble—as the musicians improvised the music.

Supplemental Information

Press Release [PDF]
Poster [PDF]
Program [PDF]
Village Voice Review [PDF]

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