Stuart Marshall (1949 - 1993) was one of Alvin Lucier's earliest and most innovative students. He served as an important link between the British visual arts scene of the 1970s and American experimental music of the same epoch.

After graduating from Wesleyan in 1976 I spent a year traveling around Europe as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, researching the musical fringe. I imposed on Stuart's hospitality in Newcastle, sleeping in his guest bedroom and hanging around Newcastle Polytechnic, where he taught. I fell in with his students as they founded Ayton Basement -- a legendary, if short lived, Newcastle performance space. I witnessed the rise of punk firsthand (and turned down an offer to start a band -- dang!) I played a couple of concerts at Butler's Wharf in London (an equally legendary venue) which, if memory serves me, were attended by David Toop and almost no-one else. Stuart remained one of my closest friends and an artistic sparring partner until he died. My son bears his name.

By the end of the 1970s Marshall had shifted to working primarily in video and film, and his sound pieces are largely unknown today. In an attempt to correct this lapse I am uploading to my web site his 1972 Master thesis, an essay by Lucier, two scores and a few links.

  • Zones 1971 - 72 (Stuart Marshall)
    MA Thesis for Wesleyan University Department of Music, 1972.
  • "Sagging and Reading Room" (Stuart Marshall)
    Score, 1972 (as faxed to me by Gavin Bryars in 1993, with new computer program printouts by Matt Rogalsky, 1993).
  • "Idiophonics" (Stuart Marshall)
    Score, 1976. Sometimes titled "Heterophonics" (Stuart had problems settling on a title for this piece).
  • Butler's Wharf 1976 (Stuart Marshall)
    Mailing card for Stuart's performance at Butler's Wharf in London, December 18, 1976. Addressed to me as a houseguest wearing out his welcome.
  • "Heterophonics" (David Toop)
    Review by David Toop of performance of "Heterophonics" ("Idiophonics") at Butler's Wharf, December 1976. From Readings Number 1, February 1977.
  • "The Minimal Slow Motion Approach: Alvin Lucier and Others" (Tom Johnson)
    Review of concert by Alvin and Mary Lucier and Stuart Marshall in The Village Voice, includes a description of "Sagging and Reading Room". March 30, 1972.
  • Ayton Basement poster
    Poster for the opening season of performance series started by students of Stuart's in an old warehouse on the quayside in Newcastle. A very strange space consisting of a pair of inclined tunnels with creepy gutters on either side. Cold and dark, as I recall.
  • Untitled Performance, December 3, 1976
    Photo of Stuart Marshall and Nicolas Collins performing a piece of Marshall's in Ayton Basement's first season. Possibly Stuart's last pure sound performance work, at a time when he was increasingly engaged with video. I'm hazy on the details, but I recall that we both carried portable Uher reel-to-reel tape recorders with a single reel of tape extending from the feed-reel on Stuart's recorder to the take-up reel on mine, creating a pedestrian tape delay. Stuart walked ahead, recording onto his machine through a microphone; I followed, and Stuart's words played back through my Uher's built-in speaker. I wish I could remember more details. A classic 1970s "mapping the space" piece, elegantly suited to the weird layout of the Basement. Contact sheet here.
  • "Video Art, the Imaginary and the Parole Vide" (Stuart Marshall)
    Essay for Studio International. Volume 11 # 981.
  • "Alvin Lucier's Music of Signs in Space" (Stuart Marshall)
    Essay on Lucier for Studio International. Volume 192 # 984. December 1976.
  • "Lapsus" (Stuart Marshall)
    Essay on video performance piece Studio International and LVA catalog. 1978.
  • "On Stuart Marshall: Composer, Video Artist and Filmmaker, 1949 - 1993" (Alvin Lucier)
    From Not Necessarily 'English Music' -- Britain's Second Golden Age. Leonardo Music Journal Volume 11 (2001).
  • "Sound Thinking: Stuart Marshall's Idiophonics" (David Toop)
    Blog entry by David Toop, 2013.
  • Recently re-discovered tape of an London Video Arts meeting from 1981. Stuart was one of the founders of LVA. This tape provides a candid insight into Stuart's personality, as well as laying bare the messy nature of democracy, especially as practiced at that moment in British cultural history when you could never be too politically correct. Thanks to David Critchley for the link.
  • Marshall bibliography at Luxonline.
  • Obituary from The Independent (Rebecca Dobbs).
  • Still Lives (Nicolas Collins)
    Composition I wrote in 1993 in memory of Stuart Marshall. For hacked CD player processing the music of Giuseppi Guami, live trumpet (Ben Neill), with text by Vladimir Nabokov.