Philip Corner

Philip Corner is an American composer and visual artist, highly regarded for his improvisational musical style. Originally from New York, Corner studied composition at the City College of New York and Columbia University, where he received his BA and MA degrees, respectively.1 Corner's work was largely influenced by many great artists of his time, such as Paul-Emile Borduas, a Canadian abstract painter, Dorothy Taubman, and John Cage, with whom he was closely associated. 

Corner is recognized for his role as co-founding participant in Fluxus. In his works with experimental music, Corner incorporated his interests in both calligraphy and traditional Korean music, brought forth by his time in the military. He cited the Korean orchestral piece, Sujecheon as “the most beautiful piece of music in the history of the world.”2 The impact of his time in Korea can also be felt through his use of the pseudonym Gwan Pok, under which he composed several musical pieces and poetry. Corner's music compositions are well-regarded for their reflection of the notion of indeterminacy, as they leave many elements completely to the discretion of the performer. His best-known piece was Piano Activities performed at International Festival of the Newest Music which took place in Wiesbaden in 1962. The work involved Fluxus members following a score created by Corner which resulted in the destruction of a grand piano. This infamous piece is largely credited in launching Fluxus into the public eye. Other well- known works include Passionate Expanse of the Law, Sang-teh/Situations and Through the Mysterious Barricade. 

Philip Corner divides his works into four distinct periods: Culture (the 1950s), the World (the 60s and 70s), Mind (70s and 80s), Body (80s and 90s), and Spirit or Soul which spans from 1999 to the present day.21 An archive of his work was recently acquired by Northwestern University's Special Collections Library.  

Geishiken: Oral History Interview with Philip Corner

P. Corner - Small pieces of a Fluxus REALITY + A really lovely piece - A.Toniutti, piano