Fireside Chat

David Behrman

60 minsFirst aired 26 Jul 2018Next Fireside Chat Today at 11:00am EST
Maria Ludovici

The early computer composer and cofounder of Sonic Arts Union looks back on a life of boundary-pushing sound.

Born in Salzburg, Austria, David Behrman had performance and music in his blood – his father was a successful Hollywood screenplay writer and his aunt was a talented violinist – so when he enrolled at Harvard in the 1950s, he studied music and befriended 20th-century avant-garde composers like LaMonte Young, Frederic Rzewski, Nam June Paik and Christian Wolff. Focusing on minimalist electronic composition, Behrman’s music often involves interactions between live performance and computers. Along with his several solo and collaborative albums, Behrman is best known for cofounding the seminal Sonic Arts Union, a mid-’60s to mid-’70s experimental collective that designed, recorded and performed with their own equipment, pushing computer music and synthesized sound into new realms.


Interview by Mark “Frosty” McNeill
Written and engineered by Marc Übel
Produced by Carmen Hofmann

More Fireside Chat Tune In Now