Ultrasounds: David Behrman

Ultrasounds: David Behrman

Works Performed or Excerpted:

1.       “Circling Six” – David Behrman, pitch sensing computer music system, with Ben Neill, trumpet and Rhys Chatham, flugelhorn

2.       “Interspecies Small Talk” – David Behrman, pitch sensing computer music system with Takehisa Kosugi, electric violin


David Behrman


David Behrman has been active as a composer and artist since the 1960s. Over the years he has made sound and multimedia installations for gallery spaces as well as musical compositions for performance in concerts. Most of his pieces feature flexible structures and the use of technology in personal ways; the compositions usually rely on interactive real-time relationships with imaginative performers.

Unforeseen Events, Refractive Light, My Dear Siegfried... and Quick Silver are among Behrman's recent works for soloists and small ensembles. Recordings of his works are published by Lovely Music, XI, Alga Marghen and Classic Masters. XI has recently released a double CD set entitled "My Dear Siegfried."

Behrman's sound and multimedia installations have been exhibited at the Parochialkirche in Berlin, Stanford University's LaSuen Gallery, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Hudson River Museum, The New York Hall of Science, the DeCordova Museum, The Addison Gallery of American Art, Ars Electronica in Linz and La Villette Science and Technology Museum in Paris, and other spaces. Some of these installations have been collaborative projects with George Lewis, Paul Demarinis, and Robert Watts.

Together with Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma, Behrman founded the Sonic Arts Union in 1966. Sonic Arts performed extensively in North America and Europe from 1966 until 1976.

Working at Columbia Records in the late 1960s, he produced the "Music of Our Time" series of new music recordings for Columbia Masterworks, which presented works by Cage, Oliveros, Lucier, Reich, Riley, Pousseur and other influential composers.

Behrman toured as composer/performer with the Cunningham Dance Company in the early Seventies and again from time to time in more recent years. In the Sixties and Seventies he assisted John Cage with several projects. Merce Cunningham commissioned him to compose music for several repertory dances, including "Pictures" in 1984.

He was co-director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College in 1975-1980 and has taught also at Cal ARts, Rutgers, and the Technical University in Berlin. He has been a member of the Avery Graduate Arts Program faculty at Bard College since 1998.

Behrman has received grants from the NEA, NYSCA, and NYFA, and residencies from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the DAAD (Berlin). From the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts he received two grants, one for music in 1995 and the John Cage Award in 2004.


David Behrman in DRAM



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