Earle Brown (December 26, 1926 – July 2, 2002) was an American composer who established his own formal and notational systems. Brown was the creator of open form, a style of musical construction that has influenced many composers since—notably the downtown New York scene of the 1980s (see John Zorn) and generations of younger composers.
Among his most famous works are December 1952, an entirely graphic score, and the open form pieces Available Forms I & II, Centering, and Cross Sections and Color Fields. He was awarded a Foundation for Contemporary Arts John Cage Award (1998).
Brown was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, and first devoted himself to playing jazz. He initially considered a career in engineering, and enrolled for engineering and mathematics at Northeastern University (1944–45). He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1945. However, the war ended while he was still in basic training, and he was assigned to the base band at Randolph Field, Texas, in which he played trumpet. The band included saxophonist Zoot Sims. Between 1946 and 1950 he was a student at Schillinger House in Boston, which is now the Berklee College of Music. Brown had private instruction in trumpet and composition. Upon graduating he moved to Denver to teach Schillinger techniques. John Cage invited Brown to leave Denver and join him for the Project for Music for Magnetic Tape in New York. Brown was an editor and recording engineer for Capitol Records (1955–60) and producer for Time-Mainstream Records (1960–73).
Brown's contact with Cage exposed David Tudor to some of Brown's early piano works, and this connection led to Brown's work being performed in Darmstadt and Donaueschingen. Composers such as Pierre Boulez and Bruno Maderna promoted his music, which subsequently became more widely performed and published.
Brown is considered to be a member of the New York School of composers, along with John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Christian Wolff. Brown cited the visual artists Alexander Calder and Jackson Pollock as two of the primary influences on his work. He was also inspired by author, Gertrude Stein, and by many artists he was personally acquainted with such as Max Ernst and Robert Rauschenberg.
Brown was married first to the dancer Carolyn Brown, who danced with Merce Cunningham from the 1950s to the 1970s, and then to the art curator Susan Sollins. Earle Brown died in 2002 of cancer, in Rye, New York, United States.
A great deal of Brown's work is composed in fixed modules (though often with idiosyncratic mixtures of notation), but the order is left free to be chosen by the conductor during performance. The material is divided in numbered "events" on a series of "pages". The conductor uses a placard to indicate the page, and with his left hand indicates which event is to be performed while his right hand cues a downbeat to begin. The speed and intensity of the downbeat suggests the tempo and dynamics.
Brown's first open-form piece, Twenty-Five Pages, was 25 unbound pages, and called for anywhere between one and 25 pianists. The score allowed the performer(s) to arrange the pages in whatever order they saw fit. Also, the pages were notated symmetrically and without clefs so that the top and bottom orientation was reversible.
Through this procedure, no two performances of an open form Brown score are the same, yet each piece retains a singular identity and his works exhibit great variety from work to work. Brown relates his work in open form to a combination of Alexander Calder's mobile sculptures and the spontaneous decision making used in the creation of Jackson Pollock's action paintings.
Although Brown precisely notated compositions throughout his career using traditional notation, he also was an inventor and early practitioner of various innovative notations.
In Twenty-Five Pages, and in other works, Brown used what he called "time notation" or "proportional notation" where rhythms were indicated by their horizontal length and placement in relation to each other and were to be interpreted flexibly. However, by Modules I and II (1966), Brown more often used stemless note heads which could be interpreted with even greater flexibility.
In 1959, with Hodograph I, Brown sketched the contour and character abstractly in what he called "implicit areas" of the piece. This graphic style was more gestural and calligraphic than the geometric abstraction of December 1952. Beginning with Available Forms I, Brown used this graphic notation on the staff in some sections of the score.
December 1952 is perhaps Brown's most famous score. It is part of a larger set of unusually notated music called FOLIO. Although this collection is misconstrued as coming out of nowhere historically, music notation has existed in many forms—both as a mechanism for creation and analysis. Brown studied what is now called Early Music, which had its own systems of notation, and was a student of the Schillinger System, which almost exclusively used graph methods for describing music. From this perspective FOLIO was an inspired, yet logical connection to be made—especially for a Northeasterner who grew up playing and improvising jazz.
December 1952 consists purely of horizontal and vertical lines varying in width, spread out over the page; it is a landmark piece in the history of graphic notation of music. The role of the performer is to interpret the score visually and translate the graphical information to music. In Brown's notes on the work he even suggests that one consider this 2D space as 3D and imagine moving through it. The other pieces in the collection are not as abstract. According to dates on the scores, Brown wrote December 1952 and then moved back towards forms of notation that contain more specific musical information.
Contemporary Sound Series, recorded from 1960–1973:
The 1932 Minnesota gubernatorial election took place on November 8, 1932. Farmer–Labor Party candidate Floyd B. Olson defeated Republican Party of Minnesota challenger Earle Brown.Art Jarvinen
Arthur Justin Jarvinen (January 27, 1956 – October 2, 2010) was an American composer who grew up in Ohio. He attended the California Institute of the Arts, studying percussion with John Bergamo, Karen Ervin Pershing, and Ruth Underwood. He eventually studied composition there with Morton Subotnick, Stephen Mosko, and Earle Brown. In 1981, he earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree and began teaching at the California Institute of the Arts, as well as becoming one of the original members of the California EAR Unit.
He composed over 80 compositions and worked closely with both Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.Brian Dennis
Brian Dennis was an English experimental music composer, and author born in Marple, Cheshire in May 1941 and died in June 1998.
Brian studied with Stockhausen, Berio, Earle Brown and Cathy Berberian at The Cologne Course for New Music and was a lecturer in Composition and Contemporary Music at Royal Holloway College, University of London.Brian wrote two books in the 1970s: Experimental Music in Schools (ISBN 978-0193231955) and Projects in Sound (ISBN 978-0900938450), which propose a new graphical form of Musical notation, showing instruments as images representing their sound, rather than traditional notation on a stave. For example, the notation of a scraping wood Güiro would be shown as zig-zag lines. Both books have been used extensively in classrooms and became part of the National Curriculum of England, Wales and Northern Ireland
He also featured in BBC documentary Music in Schools and has inspired Dan Mayfield's School of Noise.
His compositions include approximately 150 songs many of which are settings of Chinese poems with lyrics in English prepared by the composer, as well as a number of piano pieces. He completed a trilogy of one-act operas based on Japanese Noh plays as well as an unfinished three-act opera based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.Brooklyn Supreme
Brooklyn "Brookie" Supreme (April 12, 1928 – September 6, 1948) was a red roan Belgian stallion noted for his extreme size. Although disputed, the horse may be the world record holder for largest (but not tallest) horse and was designated the world's heaviest horse. He stood 19.2 hands (198 cm (6 ft 6 in)) tall and weighed 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) with a girth of 10 ft 2 in (3.10 m). His horseshoes required 30 in (76 cm) of iron.The horse was foaled on the Minneapolis, Minnesota farm of Earle Brown, who first exhibited him. Before becoming oversized, the stallion "had been Grand Champion of his breed in many state fairs". One of his great-grandfathers was another famous horse, Farceur 7332.For much of his fame, Brooklyn Supreme was owned by Charles Grant Good of Ogden, Iowa; Ralph M. Fogleman of Callender, Iowa partnered with Good and exhibited the horse around the US, charging spectators 10 cents to view the animal.David M. Arden
David M. Arden (born September 6, 1949) is an American concert pianist whose performing and recording career has focused predominantly on contemporary and American classical repertoire, including premiere performances and first recordings of piano works by a number of notable contemporary composers, such as Henryk Górecki, Luciano Berio, Earle Brown, Carson Kievman and David Lang. The Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya named Arden's recording of her 12 Preludes for Piano as her preferred recording of that work.
In addition to his performing career, Arden has been active as a music pedagogue, authoring the early-years piano instruction book Creative Music-Making at the Piano, establishing the New School of Piano in San Francisco, and founding Keys to Achievement Foundation, a nonprofit organization that places music keyboard instruction programs in US public schools.Earle (given name)
Earle is an English given name, and may refer to:
Earle Bergey (1901–1952), American illustrator
Earle Birney (1904–1995), Canadian poet; recipient of the Governor General's Award for Literature
Earle Brown (1926–2002), American composer
Earle Bruce (born 1931), former American college football coach
Earle Childs (1893–1918), American soldier who died during World War I
Earle Combs (1899–1976), American Major League Baseball player
Earle Hagen (born 1919), American composer
Earle Hyman, American actor
Earle Labor (born 1928), American historian; biographer of Jack London
Earle Bradford Mayfield (1881–1964), American politician; United States Senator
Earle "Greasy" Neale (1891-1973), American football & baseball player & coach
Earle Ovington (1879–1936), American aeronautical engineer, aviator and inventor; "Official Air Mail Pilot #1"
Earle Page (1880–1961), Eleventh Prime Minister of Australia
Earle S. Warner (1880–1971), New York politician and judgeGraphic notation (music)
Graphic notation (or graphic score) is the representation of music through the use of visual symbols outside the realm of traditional music notation. Graphic notation evolved in the 1950s, and can be used either in combination with or instead of traditional music notation. Composers often rely on graphic notation in experimental music, where standard musical notation can be ineffective. Other uses include pieces where an aleatoric or undetermined effect is desired. One of the earliest pioneers of the technique, along with John Cage, was Earle Brown, who sought to liberate performers from the constraints of notation and makes them active participants in the creation of the music.Gregg Smith Singers
The Gregg Smith Singers is a mixed chorus from the United States, directed by Gregg Smith (August 21, 1931 – July 12, 2016). The group, which comprises 16 singers, was founded at an all-Japanese Methodist church in West Los Angeles, California in 1955, while Smith was studying for his master's degree in music at the University of California, Los Angeles. The group moved to New York in 1970.
The group's repertoire ranges from the colonial-era American compositions of William Billings to contemporary works by Morton Feldman as well as many works by Smith himself. They have also performed works by William Duckworth, Arnold Schoenberg, Elliott Carter, Charles Ives, Earle Brown, Edwin London, Blas Galindo, Jorge Córdoba, Harold Blumenfeld, Irving Fine, Morton Gould, William Schuman, Louise Talma, Arthur Sullivan, and Ned Rorem, as well as early music by composers such as Giovanni Gabrieli and Heinrich Schütz. They have also made a well received yuletide album entitled "Christmas Songs from around the World" whose arrangements have also been performed by other choruses, chorales, and choirs as well.
The Gregg Smith Singers have toured the United States 40 times, in addition to 16 tours of Europe, and three visits to Asia. It has recorded over 100 albums, on the Albany, Columbia, Cp2, CRI, Koch International Classics, Lovely Music, New World, Newport Classic, Sony, Crown, and Vox labels.
The Gregg Smith Singers have performed with numerous orchestras and worked with Igor Stravinsky for 12 years beginning in 1959, until the composer's death in 1971. The group has received three Grammy Awards.Jackson Mac Low
Jackson Mac Low (September 12, 1922 – December 8, 2004) was an American poet, performance artist, composer and playwright, known to most readers of poetry as a practioneer of systematic chance operations and other non-intentional compositional methods in his work, which Mac Low first experienced in the musical work of John Cage, Earle Brown, and Christian Wolff. He was married to the artist Iris Lezak from 1962 to 1978, and to the poet Anne Tardos from 1990 until his death.
An early affiliate of Fluxus (he co-published An Anthology of Chance Operations) and stylistic progenitor of the Language poets, Mac Low cultivated ties with an eclectic array of notable figures in the postwar American avant-garde, including Nam June Paik, Kathy Acker, Allen Ginsberg, and Arthur Russell. His work has been published in more than 90 anthologies and periodicals and read publicly, exhibited, performed, and broadcast in North and South America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. He read, performed, and lectured in New York and throughout North America, Europe, and New Zealand, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Asnières, Paris, Bouliac (near Bordeaux), Marseilles, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and New York.Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra is a noted orchestra based in Ostrava in the northeast of the Czech Republic. It is named after the famous Czech composer Leoš Janáček. For previous US-projects it has performed under the name Czech Symphony Orchestra and Czech Radio Orchestra. Its current conductor is Heiko Mathias Förster.
The orchestra was established in 1954 and has toured all across the world. At present it is a 116 piece orchestra and since 1997 the orchestra has concentrated on performing recent compositions by composers such as Earle Brown, John Cage, Maria de Alvear, Morton Feldman, Petr Kotik, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Somei Satoh, Martin Smolka, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Toru Takemitsu, Edgard Varese, and Christian Wolff.
In 2008, the orchestra performed the world premiere of the Rachmaninoff/Warenberg: Piano Concerto "No. 5" a work derived from Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, arranged as a concertante for piano and orchestra by Alexander Warenberg. The recording was issued on the Brilliant Classics label and was largely well-received despite not being an original work of Rachmaninoff's. The orchestra was led by its present director of music Theodore Kuchar with Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy as soloist.John Martin (businessman)
John Martin (August 18, 1820–May, 1905) of Peacham, Vermont was an American steamboat captain and businessman in Minneapolis, Minnesota involved in lumber and flour milling. In 1891, Martin led a merger of six mills to create Northwestern Consolidated Milling Company, at the time the world's second largest flour milling company after Pillsbury-Washburn.
In 1855 he was standard-bearer and leader on horseback of the ceremonial opening of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge the first major, permanent bridge across the Mississippi RiverHe was also President of the First National Bank, owner of the largest lumber mill in the area until it burned in 1887 (by then recently under new owners) and founding officer of Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway and Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie RailroadLater in life he provided primary funding and major impetus (along with his daughter Jean) for the founding of the Children's Home Society of Minnesota, then called the Jean Martin Brown Receiving Home.
Martin was married to Miss Jane B. Gilfillan sister of Representative John Bachop Gilfillan of Minnesota.
They had one child, Jean (Martin) Brown. Jean Martin's son (John Martin's grandson) was Earle Brown, noted Hennepin County Sheriff (1920), founder of the Minnesota State Patrol (1929), and Republican gubernatorial candidate for Minnesota (1932). He was also noted, like his grandfather, for his equestrian interests and special interest in Belgian Horse showing and breeding.
John Martin is buried in the Martin-Gilfillan family plot with his wife Jane, daughter Jean, and grandson Earle at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
His funeral was held at 925 6th Street SE, Minneapolis (still standing), the home was designed by noted architect Earnest Kennedy and was built with the intention of sharing it with his nephew Earl Browne. After John Martin died, Earle Brown lived there until 1909, when the property was sold to noted geologist Horace V. Winchell and Brown moved permanently to Brooklyn Farm in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.Mobile (sculpture)
A mobile (UK: ,US: ) is a type of kinetic sculpture constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. It consists of a number of rods, from which weighted objects or further rods hang. The objects hanging from the rods balance each other, so that the rods remain more or less horizontal. Each rod hangs from only one string, which gives it freedom to rotate about the string. An ensemble of these balanced parts hang freely in space, by design without coming into contact with each other.
Mobiles are popular in the nursery, where they hang over cribs to give infants entertainment and visual stimulation. Mobiles have inspired many composers, including Morton Feldman and Earle Brown who were inspired by Alexander Calder's mobiles to create mobile-like indeterminate pieces. Frank Zappa also claimed that his compositions were modelled on Calder mobiles.Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman (January 12, 1926 – September 3, 1987) was an American composer.
A major figure in 20th-century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. Feldman's works are characterized by notational innovations that he developed to create his characteristic sound: rhythms that seem to be free and floating; pitch shadings that seem softly unfocused; a generally quiet and slowly evolving music; recurring asymmetric patterns. His later works, after 1977, also begin to explore extremes of duration.Refrain (Stockhausen)
Refrain for three players (piano with woodblocks, vibraphone with alpine cowbells, and amplified celesta with antique cymbals) is a chamber-music composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and is number 11 in his catalog of works.Tania Chen
Tania Chen is a mixed media artist and interdisciplinary pianist who composes experimental, improvised and contemporary music. She plays for a global audience, but is mostly based in New York, San Francisco, and London. She is known for performing the works of composers such as Cornelius Cardew (Recording), Michael Parsons, John Cage, Earle Brown (recording), Morton Feldman and Chris Newman. Composers of the younger generation she has worked with include John Lely, Li-Chuan Chong and James Saunders.
She has also collaborated with musicians including improviser and composer Steve Beresford (with whom she recorded 'Ointment'), composer Andrew Poppy (concert), pianist John Tilbury, bassist John Edwards, drummer Mark Sanders and harpist Rhodri Davies. She has also collaborated with the film-maker Jayne Parker.
She has performed in the US, UK, Asia and Europe, at venues including Tate Modern, GaleGates (Brooklyn, NYC), The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum (Berlin), the Purcell Room, where she gave a complete performance of John Cage's Music of Changes Books I-IV, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Recent concerts include Cornelius Cardew for BBC Radio 3 (Concert program and listing) and a performance of Satie's Vexations for the "Sleep" Installation at the Tate Modern 27 & 28 May 2007, alongside Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars and Joshua Rifkin.
Originally trained as a classical pianist, she studied (amongst others) with Stephen Coombs, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, as well as taking masterclasses with Artur Pizarro. Her piano career took a turn towards contemporary music in the late 1990s, when she studied with noted pianist John Tilbury, and became noted for her performances of composers such as John Cage and Morton Feldman, amongst others. She was subsequently awarded an M(Mus) at Goldsmiths College, University of London, with distinction. During this time she also took part in a masterclass with Mstislav Rostropovich(link).The Best of Ray Charles
The Best of Ray Charles is a compilation album released in 1970 on the Atlantic Jazz label, featuring previously released instrumental (non-vocal) tracks recorded by Ray Charles between November 1956 and November 1958.
The instrumental, "Rockhouse" would later be covered, as "Ray's Rockhouse" (1985), by The Manhattan Transfer with lyrics by Jon Hendricks.The Previous Evening
The Previous Evening (Music for Dance Volume 4) is a studio album by English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith. It is the fourth of a series of Music for Dance albums Frith made, and was recorded in Germany in 1993 and 1996.
The Previous Evening was composed by Frith and is divided into three parts, in which Frith pays homage to three contemporary classical composers, John Cage, Morton Feldman and Earle Brown. The CD booklet also contains the following dedication: "This recording is dedicated to my father, Donald Frith, whose support has been and continues to be warm and unwavering."WERGO
WERGO is a German record label focusing on contemporary classical music. It was founded in 1962 by German-Argentinean art historian, jurist and professor Werner Goldschmidt (1903–1975) and the musicologist Helmut Kirchmeyer. Their first release, filed under "WER 60001", was Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire, conducted by Pierre Boulez. The record company is owned by Schott Music, both based in Mainz, Germany.
A great number of contemporary composers have been recorded by the label. These include Louis Andriessen, George Antheil, Béla Bartók, Pierre Boulez, Earle Brown, John Cage, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Morton Feldman, Mauricio Kagel, György Ligeti, Meredith Monk, Conlon Nancarrow, Luigi Nono, Harry Partch, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Terry Riley, Kaija Saariaho, Giacinto Scelsi, Dieter Schnebel, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pēteris Vasks, and Walter Zimmermann.
Earle Brown was repertory director of an important series of new-music recordings on the Time-Mainstream label re-issued in 2008 on Wergo. Between 1960 and 1973, Brown oversaw the label's recordings of works by 49 composers from 16 countries, among them Ives, Cage, Nono, Maderna, Stockhausen, Berio and Xenakis.
The label began releasing LPs but now releases CDs and DVDs. As of 2012, the catalogue consists of about 600 different albums published in numerous series that are often edited in cooperation with institutions prominent in promotion of contemporary classical music (i.e. Deutscher Musikrat, Westdeutscher Rundfunk Cologne, Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM) Karlsruhe).Williams Mix
Williams Mix (1951–1953) is a 4'15" electronic composition by John Cage for eight simultaneously played independent quarter-inch magnetic tapes. The first octophonic music, the piece was created by Cage with the assistance of Earle Brown, Morton Feldman, and David Tudor, using a large number of tape sound sources and a paper score he created for the construction. "Presignifying the development of algorithmic composition, granular synthesis and sound diffusion," it was the third of five pieces completed in the Project for Music for Magnetic Tape (1951–1954), funded by dedicatee architect Paul Williams.The material, recorded by Louis and Bebe Barron, was organized in six categories: city, country, electronic, manually produced, wind, and "small" sounds; "subjected...to I Ching manipulations, producing constant jumps from one sound to another or buzzing, scrambled textures of up to sixteen simultaneous layers." The 193-page score, "a full-size drawing of the tape fragments, which served as a 'score' for the splicing," is described by Cage as similar to "a dressmaker's pattern – it literally shows where the tape shall be cut, and you lay the tape on the score itself." Thus, like a recipe, the piece may be recreated using different tapes and the score.
The work was premiered at the 25th Year Retrospective Concert Of The Music Of John Cage on May 15, 1958, and was recorded by Columbia Records producer George Avakian and issued by him on a three-LP set with a booklet including extensive notes and illustrations of scores.
Larry Austin later created a computer program, the "Williams (re)Mix(er)", based on an analysis of ""Williams Mix"", which could "yield ever-new Williams Mix scores." With this software, Austin created Williams (re)Mix[ed] (1997–2000), an octophonic variation of Williams Mix using different sound sources.In 2012, Tom Erbe became the first person to recreate "Williams Mix" from the original score, entering each tape edit from the 193 page score into the computer, and creating performance software carefully following Cage's notes. Erbe's debut performance of "Williams Mix" was on Cage's 100th birthday, September 5, 2012, at Fresh Sound in San Diego. Erbe also created a version of "Williams Mix" for clipping.'s 2014 album CLPPNG, using clipping. samples to re-record the work according to the original instructions.
Darmstadt School (Darmstädter Ferienkurse)