John Zorn

By: Douglas Wolk

JOHN ZORN (born 1953) has been the nexus of the musical avant-garde in New York for a couple of decades — an unbelievably prolific composer and performer and curator and label-dude whose early look-how-eclectic-I-am tendencies […]

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Léon Theremin

By: Erik Davis

Child of St. Petersburg, bug-maker for the KGB, and husband of the African-American dancer Lavinia Williams, LÉON THEREMIN (1896-1993) achieved immortality through the eponymous electronic instrument he invented in 1920. Originally called the “aetherphone,” the […]

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Hanns Eisler

By: Franklin Bruno

Kurt Weill settled into a successful Broadway career after escaping Nazi Germany, but the American soujourn of Brecht’s other major Weimar-era musical collaborator did not end so fortunately. HANNS EISLER (1898-1962) set his Schoenberg-trained hand […]

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Mark Mothersbaugh

By: Tor Aarestad

Although other rock frontmen had been strange before MARK MOTHERSBAUGH (born 1950), none had been so aggressively strange or so brazenly uncool. Devo was the soundtrack of a life spent stumbling on uneven pavement, knocking […]

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Erik Satie

By: Jason Grote

Parisian composer ERIK SATIE (1866-1925) was the great-grandaddy of ambient music, the distant progenitor of Musak and smooth jazz. In 1902, Satie and friends introduced what they called “Furniture Music” in a Paris Gallery — […]

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