David Behrman

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David Behrman (born August 16, 1937 in Salzburg, Austria) is an American composer and a pioneer of computer music. In the early 1960s he was the producer of Columbia Records' Music of Our Time series, which included the first recording of Terry Riley's In C.[1] In 1966 Behrman co-founded Sonic Arts Union with fellow composers Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma. He wrote the music for Merce Cunningham's dances Walkaround Time (1968), Rebus (1975), Pictures (1984) and Eyespace 40 (2007).


Early Years

Behrman's father, S. N. Behrman, was a successful playwright and Hollywood screenplay writer. His mother Elza Heifetz Behrman was the sister of violinist Jascha Heifetz.


Behrman attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where his classmates included Carl Andre, Hollis Frampton and Frank Stella. There he also developed a lifelong friendship with composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski. While attending summer camp at Indian Hill in 1953 he was taught modern music by Wallingford Riegger. He studied music at Harvard from 1955 to 1959, where he formed a lifelong friendship with Christian Wolff (composer) and where he continued his friendship with Frederic Rzewski. He attended the summer school at Darmstadt in 1959, where he met La Monte Young and Nam June Paik.


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


Behrman is known as a minimalist composer.[2] His music has often involved interactions between live performers and computers, usually with the computer generating sounds triggered by some aspect of the live performance, usually certain pitches, but sometimes other aspects of the live sound, such as volume in QRSL (as recorded by Maggi Payne on The Extended Flute (CRI807). Many of his significant works, such as On the Other Ocean, Interspecies Small Talk, and others have been released on Lovely Music.



  • On the Other Ocean Lovely Music Ltd. (1977)
  • Leapday Night Lovely Music Ltd. (1987)
  • Unforeseen Events XI Records (1991)
  • Wave Train Alga Margin (1998)
  • My Dear Siegfried XI Records (2005)


  • 1976 - Music With Roots in the Aether: Opera for Television. Tape 1: David Behrman. Produced and directed by Robert Ashley. New York, New York: Lovely Music.
  • 2008 - Roulette TV: David Behrman. Roulette Intermedium Inc.

External links

  • David Behrman Website
  • David Behrman interview from Kalvos & Damian New Music Bazaar
  • Lovely Music Artist: David Behrman
  • David Behrman Interview by Theresa Stern (August 1997)
  • David Behrman at UbuWeb
  • David Behrman page at WFMU
  • David Behrman at the Foundation for Contemporary Arts
  • David Behrman at Diapason Gallery
  • David Behrman at Bard College
  • David Behrman at Arcane Candy


  1. ^ David Behrman: Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Biography.
  2. ^ Kenneth Goldsmith. "David Behrman: Composer as Record Executive" from "Don't Quit Your Day Job". 2000. New Music Box / American Music Center.
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