Walter Zimmermann

(b. 1949)

mode 324

Desert Plants


mode 324 “DESERT PLANTS: Conversations with 23 American Composers” by Walter ZIMMERMANN: reissue of the legendary book containing Zimmermann’s 1976 interviews, the reissue also contains a CD of the audio of the actual composer interviews. Composers interviewed: Larry Austin, Robert Ashley, Jim Burton, John Cage, Philip Corner, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Joan La Barbara, Garrett List, Alvin Lucier, John McGuire, Charles Morrow, J.B. Floyd (on Conlon Nancarrow), Pauline Oliveros, Charlemagne Palestine, Ben Johnston (on Harry Partch), Steve Reich, David Rosenboom, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Teitelbaum, James Tenney, Christian Wolff, La Monte Young. Reissued as a facsimile of the original edition, 197 pages + CD, softcover.

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Desert Plants

In 1976, Walter Zimmermann decided to travel to America to interview American composers who were important and influential to him. He did not personally know the composers, he would simply try to locate and contact them armed with his Nagra tape deck and two microphones.

This journey became the book Desert Plants, a landmark both for American experimental music and for its account of a young West German composer discovering his own musical sensibility. While several of the musicians interviewed remain less well-known or well-known only in niches, with the passage of time the music of many of those included in Desert Plants has attained a prominence that sometimes makes it hard to recall how great a challenge their music posed to the then-establishment (and, to some extent, still-institutional) avant-gardes, American and European alike.

Long out of print yet always in demand, Zimmermann decided to reprint Desert Plants as a facsimile reproduction of the original: softcover, still typeset in the original IBM Selectric typewriter font, etc. Only some typos have been corrected. For this reissue, for the first time a CD is included with MP3 files of the original interviews audio, with the exception of a couple which were lost or damaged.

High quality printing imported from Germany.