Glenn Branca – American Maverick Composer Presents a New Work

From the Wall Street Journal

Glenn Branca

Glenn Branca was one of the composers brought forward in the Minnesota Public Radio project American Mavericks.

STEVE DOLLAR, writes about the composer’s new work.

This article is copyright protected, so, just and introduction:

Glenn Branca thinks big. On a recent afternoon, the 62-year-old composer rolled into the Greenwich Village music venue (Le) Poisson Rouge, where his latest piece will be staged on Saturday and Sunday. And its requirements for physical space were a cause for some concern.

“We’re still not sure if the stage is long enough to get us on there,” Mr. Branca said. “When we get done here I’m going in there to measure it.” The seven-movement composition, “Symphony No. 15: Running Through the World Like an Open Razor (Music for Strange Orchestra),” doesn’t feature 100 electric guitarists, like Mr. Branca’s 2001 “Symphony 13: Hallucination City.” But the 12 musicians it does employ have to manage more than 100 separate instruments, including those drawn from Asian and African folk traditions, and stringed instruments—”like dulcimers, like zithers”—built by Mr. Branca.

You can see the full article here.

From Mr Blanca’s biography web site

“Glenn Branca was born in Harrisburg, Pa. 1948 to John and Dee Branca.
As a child his interests were acting at the Hbg. Community Theater, reading, the Philadelphia Phillies and Broadway musicals. As a teenager his interests extended to rock music. He started playing the guitar at age 15. He also created a number of tape collage pieces for his own amusement.
After attending York College in 1966-1967 he started the short-lived cover band The Crystal Ship with Al Whiteside and Dave Speece in the summer of 1967. From 1967-1971 he attended Emerson College in Boston, majoring in Dramatic Arts: directing. His productions included: “Leonce and Lena” by George Buchner, “Suddenly Last Summer” by Tennessee Williams and “Escurial” by Michael de Ghelderode”. These productions where known for their prodigious and eclectic use of music including: jazz, rock, contemporary-classical, ancient, “ethnic” and on occasion original. After his junior year he was chosen as the only undergraduate to take the graduate directing course. Also at Emerson Branca worked with Dr. Tom Haas and Bob Ginn who were both important influences. After college his interests extended to playwriting. His first play, “Club Limbo” w/Thomas Joseph in 1972 was never produced. In 1973 he moved from Boston to London with his then girlfriend Meg English. His second play “Scratching The Surface” had a two week run at The Boltons on Earl’s Court produced by Gavin Douglas and Moloch Productions with Meg in a leading role. Both of these plays were absurdist farces.

Read the full biography here.