Duration: c. 29:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Open score, most commonly four pianos
Publisher: G. Schirmer, through Wise Music Classical
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown
Open Score (all performers read from score)
None discovered thus far.
When Eastman premiered Gay Guerrilla at his January 1980 Northwestern concert, he explained its title as well:
These names, either I glorify them or they glorify me. And in the case of 'guerrilla,' that glorifies 'gay.' ... A guerrilla is someone who in any case is sacrificing his life for a point of view. And you know if there is a cause, and if it is a great cause, those who belong to that cause will sacrifice their blood because without blood there is no cause. So therefore that is the reason that I use 'gay guerrilla,' in hopes that I might be one if called upon to be one.
Composed for any number of identical instruments but most often performed on four pianos (as it was at Northwestern), Gay Guerrilla begins slowly and somberly -- "like bells tolling," as concert curator Seth Parker Woods describes it. Over the course of 20 minutes it builds to a booming, brazen musical quotation of the Lutheran hymn Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God). Though Eastman's piece is instrumental, the original hymn includes the lines "And though this world, with devils filled / Should threaten to undo us / We will not fear, for God hath willed / His truth to triumph through us."
Eastman wrote Gay Guerrilla in 1979, ten years after the Stonewall riots and on the cusp of the devastating AIDS epidemic, as musicologist Luciano Chessa noted in his contribution to the book of the same name. Reflecting on this historical moment, Parker Woods points out that 1979 was just before "all hell broke loose" for the gay community, so that the precarious questions of "who could say what" and "who could come out" were newly fraught and unsettled.
- Program Note by Kerry O'Brien
- Compact Disc: Julius Eastman: Unjust Malaise – 2005
- Video: Max Canaday, Michael Century, Catherine Chou, André Watson, pianos – 18 November 2009
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Mid America Freedom Band (Kansas City, Mo.) (Lee Hartman, conductor) – 29 October 2017
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Buddha (1983)
- Femenine [sic] (1974)
- Gay Guerrilla (1979)
- If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? (1977)
- Joy Boy (1974)
- Masculine (1974)
- Stay on It (1973)
- That Boy (1974)
- Trumpet (1970)
- The Horizon Leans Forward..., compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 317-318.
- O'Brien, Kerry. "The world catches up to iconoclastic composer Julius Eastman." Chicago Reader, 21 February 2018. Web. – Accessed 6 April 2020
- Perusal score