"You want to know what we're doing? We're breaking the rules, even our own rules."


Steve Antosca, Roger Reynolds, and Karen Reynolds have independently and collaboratively directed and co-directed numerous festivals and concerts on both a national and an international scale. Practicing musicians themselves, they are activists too, addressing perceived needs in their musical environments wherever they may find themselves. Given their history, it is not surprising that they began to combine experience, insights and expertise in recent years, producing events together in the Washington, DC area.

The most recent and ambitious among them is the John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC. This week of events brought together ten distinguished Washington venues and a stellar cast of international Cage experts – performers and scholars. Antosca and the Reynolds originally met through Jon Newsom, then Chief of the Music Division at the Library of Congress, and staff musicologist Stephen Soderberg. The occasion was a Reynolds Portrait Concert presented by the Library in its storied Coolidge Auditorium, during February of 2006.

Earlier, the Reynolds had conceived and realized major events in Ann Arbor, Paris, Tokyo, San Diego, New York, and San Francisco, then, with Antosca, in Washington. Antosca’s entrepreneurial efforts in Washington created – over several decades – an essential base of knowledge and credibility. As Chair of the venerable Washington non-profit, the Contemporary Music Forum, and as Artistic Director of the National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble, he became a key figure in DC’s cultural life. Karen’s flute performances, in the States and abroad, gradually morphed towards engagements with editing and design. In the latter role, her work has appeared on the covers of C.F. Peters publications and on Mode CDs. Together, the Reynolds’s Library of Congress relationship (The Music Division established the Reynolds Special Collection in 1997.) quickly extended outwards to include the University of California’s Washington Center (where Roger is “Artist-in-Residence”), the National Gallery of Art, and The Phillips Collection.

The collaborators’ efforts in the John Cage Centennial Festival, Washington DC, produced capacity audiences in each venue, and spurred a spirit of inter-institutional collaboration that benefited all.

Steve Antosca, Roger, and Karen Reynolds during a videotaped interview regarding the history of their work on the John Cage Centennial Washington, DC. festival. The interview, arranged by Kyle Johnson, took place in the Reynolds’s Southern California home in February 2013. Still image by Kyle Johnson.