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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Composer, New York; and Faculty Member, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, New York

Inga Maren Otto Fellow in Music Composition - Class of Spring 2016

David Behrman is a leading figure in experimental sound practice and producing. He has created sound and multimedia installations for gallery spaces and compositions for concert performance. At Columbia Records, Behrman produced many of the “Music of Our Time” recordings, which included works by John Cage, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, and many other influential composers. Behrman was co-founder of the Sonic Arts Union and had a long association with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as both composer and performer. A co-director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, Behrman also taught at the California Institute of the Arts, Rutgers University, Ohio State University, Wesleyan University, and Berlin’s Technische Universität. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Milton Avery Graduate Arts Program faculty at Bard College.


Behrman’s compositions have been presented at venues throughout North America, Japan, and Europe. His widely exhibited sound and multimedia installations include Cloud Music (1974-79), a collaboration with Robert Watts and Bob Diamond), Sound Fountain (1982, a collaboration with Paul DeMarinis), A Map of the Known World and Algorithmes et Kalimba (1986-87, collaborations with George Lewis), In Thin Air (1997), Pen Light (2002), and View Finder (2002-2005). Spaces include the Parochialkirche in Berlin, Whitney Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, La Villette Science and Technology Museum in Paris, and T.W. Stanford Gallery. In 2013, the Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired Cloud Music for its permanent collection.


Behrman has received grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Massachusetts Arts Council, Cologne Society for New Music, Art Institute of Chicago, Henry Cowell Foundation, Radio Bremen, and Music from Japan. The Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York presented him with a Grants to Artists Award in 1994 and the John Cage Award in 2004.

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