Philip Lionel Corner (b. 1933) is a multi-instrumentalist, music theorist, and visual artist. The U.S. American, who is also known as Phil Corner and occasionally performs under his Korean pseudonym Gwan Pok (thoughtful waterfall), studied composition and music theory at City College New York and Columbia University New York. During this time he spent two years in Paris, where he studied "Philosophie Musicale" with Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatory. His musical development was influenced in particular by John Cage and Dorothee Taubman, but also by the spirituality he was close to as well as by Far Eastern religions such as Zen Buddhism. Thus he created music that was intended to contribute to the attainment of trance-like states. Likewise, his study of calligraphy during his military service in Korea influenced his style of notation.
He is one of the first generation of Fluxus artists and entered into extensive performance collaborations. Together with George Maciunas, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Emmett Williams, Ben Patterson, Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles he performed his piece Piano Activities at the Museum Wiesbaden in 1962. Between 1962 and 1964 he was a composer and musician in the Judson Dance Theatre, and later joined the Experimental Intermedia Foundation, in whose dance group he composed.
Corner is considered a very prolific artist. He himself divides his work into five phases, each of which depicts his beliefs and actions at the time:
1960s and 70s: World
1970s and 80s: Mind
1980s and 90s: Body
1999 until today: mind and soul
In addition to being a musician and composer, Corner expressed himself in the visual arts, creating collages, calligraphy, drawings and paintings that were exhibited worldwide, as well as poetry.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, he held various teaching positions at the New School for Social Research, the New Lincoln School, Livingston College, a department of the State University of New Jersey, and the Mason Gross School of the Arts.
In the 1990s he moved to Italy, where he still lives and works.