This week’s interview was a little scatter-shot. We jumped around a lot and corrected some previous errors before going on to new material.
We started out where we had our greatest problems two weeks ago: with the Harvard years, and the Bog Schoolhouse. I had sent an email to the Harvard Department of Music asking them to verify the dates that David taught there, and they responded very, very quickly. Their response was surprising, as well. They consulted Elliot Forbes’ A History of Music at Harvard to 1972and A Report of Music at Harvard from 1972 to 1990, and discovered that he had been there not starting in 1968, but starting in 1967! And that he left in 1971! There’s our missing year! It also fits well with David’s account of going to art colonies in the summers. David had been going to MacDowell for nearly 10 year at this point, and the colony had a policy in place limiting fellows to 10 visits during their lifetime (a policy that has since been retracted). So that he wouldn’t use up his 10 lifetimes visits before the age of 40, David went to Yaddo for the first time in … 1971. A new colony, a new atmosphere, an impetus to … quit teaching at Harvard.
So. David called Harvard from Yaddo and tendered his resignation. When his residency was over, he moved out of Boston and into the Bog Schoolhouse, where he spent a year (Fall 1971 — Spring 1972) writing, and after a time being generally lonely and miserable. He started looking for a job, and was offered the SUNY Buffalo position with the Creative Associates, which was a one semester appointment.
And the point was driven home – never trust any single source for its accuracy. Every last source until Harvard was just plain wrong. (And we intend to triple-check their dates, too!) Boosey’s timeline was skewed a year late as regards the Harvard years. Grove was off by the same amount. And the Oxford Dictionary of Music was just wrong. Just plain wrong. A dictionary – wrong. Shame, shame, shame. 1966—1972 – a year early at the beginning and a year late at the end. At least the others had the right span of time.
A sizeable chunk of the rest of interview was given over to expanding on some neglected portions of out last session: some musical discussion, fleshing out the times spent in NH and Buffalo, talking more about David’s relationships during the period.
To our great fortune, one of David’s closest friends during the Harvard years, Tison Street, is visiting NYC from Boston next week. While we sat there, David called Tison and set up an interview session with him next Tuesday at David’s studio (same Bat Time, same Bat Channel). For the first hour of the interview, David will be out to lunch with a friend, but will join us for a joint session at the end. Awesome!
When we finally got on to “new material”, we made it through the Final Alice years, and some of its professional and personal ramifications.
Because the session was so scatter-shot, it felt at times as though it dragged. However, it was an incredibly fruitful interview, and covered a lot of side-areas that we had neglected before.