Still, there's a modern thread running through his work. Trimpin is known for linking computers with traditional instruments: having a MIDI-controlled player piano, for instance.
The artist's unusual vision fits in with Stanford Lively Arts' theme for its new season, "Memory Forward." Announced on Tuesday, the 2010-11 season has a new work by Trimpin as its centerpiece. The season starts in October and will conclude May 14, 2011, with the world premiere of Trimpin's installation and performance work "The Gurs Zyklus (The Gurs Cycle)," said Jenny Bilfield, Lively Arts' artistic and executive director.
Trimpin, who goes by his surname, is a native of Germany who lives in Seattle. He is collaborating with New York vocalist and director Rinde Eckert to create the piece, which will be steeped in memory. It will tell the story of the internment camp Gurs, where many Jews from Trimpin's hometown were sent during World War II.
Commissioned by Lively Arts, "The Gurs Zyklus" will incorporate speech and other sounds, video and sculpture. Trimpin will be on the Stanford campus during the months before the performance, working and teaching at the Center for Research in Music and Acoustics.
Lively Arts' 41st season is a mix of jazz, theater, Hindustani classical music, bluegrass, folk, dance, and chamber and vocal music. Opening night, Oct. 13, explores the memory theme with "Awakening: 9/11 Meditation," a program featuring composers from 14 countries. Performers are the Kronos Quartet and the Palo Alto-based Cantabile Youth Singers.
Stanford composer Jonathan Berger also harks back with his piece "Memory Slips," which will have its U.S. premiere on March 4, presented by the violin-cello-piano threesome Trio Voce.
Other commissions and premieres include the West Coast premiere of "Life," written by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and set to be performed Nov. 5 by Bang on a Can All Stars. The contemporary-music ensemble calls itself "part rock band and part amplified chamber group." The Nov. 5 program also includes music by Brian Eno and Julia Wolfe.
More classical strings music also abounds. Violinist Midori will give a recital with pianist Robert McDonald on Nov. 17, while the in-residence St. Lawrence String Quartet plans its customary series of three performances, including a May 1 West Coast premiere of a new Osvaldo Golijov work.
Jazz remains an important element of the Lively Arts season, this year focusing on work from the bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus. Bassist Christian McBride returns to Lively Arts on Nov. 13, with other jazz events including the Mingus Big Band on April 13.
Musicians from other corners of the world include Indian vocalist Shubha Mudgal on Oct. 20, singer Toshi Reagon with her American folk/blues band BIGLovely on Oct. 29, and Israeli rock singer Berry Sakharof on Jan. 29.
In dance, the hip-hop company Rennie Harris Puremovement takes the stage Jan. 22 after a campus residency, while the Japanese butoh company Sankai Juku comes to Lively Arts on Nov. 9.
In theater, the Word for Word Performing Arts Company brings Elizabeth Strout stories to the stage on Jan. 9, and then dramatizes work by writers from Stanford's Stegner creative-writing fellowship program in a Feb. 26 show.
Season subscriptions go on sale in mid-June, with single tickets on sale beginning in August. For details about the full season, go to http://livelyarts.stanford.edu or call 650-725-ARTS.