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AUDIBLE OPENING: Herbert Brün 100 at ESS

  • ESS 5925 North Ravenswood Avenue Chicago, IL, 60660 United States (map)
Herbert Brün, Computer Graphic, Unnumbered "Shades", c. 1968.  Courtesy Estate of Herbert Brün and Rare Nest Gallery

Herbert Brün, Computer Graphic, Unnumbered "Shades", c. 1968.  Courtesy Estate of Herbert Brün and Rare Nest Gallery

Opening & Performance

Friday, October 12, 6-9pm


Gallery Hours

October 14-December 16, 2018

Sundays 1-5pm or by Appointment


Curated by Rare Nest gallery.


Join us for the opening of Herbert Brün 100 at ESS, an exhibition of rarely seen work from one of the early masters of electronic composition and computer-generated imagery.

The opening will be accompanied by a live performance of Brün's works, organized by Jeff Kowalkowski featuring

Samuel Salathiel Bradshaw (contra basso) and Pantellis Bolarakis (piano) will play a selection of Brün's scores:

"per contra: serenata: bassa" (1977) solo bass

"Laughing Third" (1995) solo piano

"Futility" (1964) for tape

Herbert Brün (Berlin, 1918 - Urbana, 2000) is widely recognized as a visionary pioneer in electronic composition including music and graphics, with his computer graphics representing a watershed in early computer art and design. Brün was the first musical director to bring electronic compositions to the stage in Munich in the early 1950’s. ESS is delighted to collaborate with Rare Nest gallery and  the Brün Estate in presenting Brün's graphics to a wider community.

This exhibition is an extension of Rare Nest gallery's exhibition Herbert Brün 100 during summer of 2018, which was the first major present Herbert Brün's graphics in Chicago.

For more information and links to Brün's works and writings click here.


Herbert Brün Bio

Herbert Brün, 1939.  Estate of Herbert Brün and Rare Nest.

Herbert Brün, 1939.  Estate of Herbert Brün and Rare Nest.

As a child in his father’s Berlin study, Brün began experimenting with radio technology.  He left Germany in 1936 for Palestine, where he studied piano and composition at the Jerusalem Conservatory and then with Stefan Wolpe, Eli Friedman, and Frank Pelleg. He furthered his studies at Tanglewood and Columbia University from 1948 through 1950. 

From 1955-61, in addition to composing, he conducted research concerning electro-acoustics regarding possibilities for musical composition in Paris, Cologne, and Munich. During this period, he also worked as composer and conductor of music for the theater, notably with Fritz Kortner, gave lectures and seminars emphasizing the function of music in society, and did a series of broadcasts on contemporary music.

After a lecture tour of the U.S. in 1962, Brün was invited by Lejaren Hiller to join the faculty of the University of Illinois. There Brün continued his work in the electronic studio and began research on composition with computers, which resulted in pieces for tape and instruments, tape alone, and graphics (some to be performed by interpreters). He collaborated with Heinz von Foerster on several interdisciplinary courses in heuristics and cybernetics at the Biological Computer Laboratory (1968-74). In 1968, he participated in the ground-breaking exhibition “Cybernetic Serendipity” at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. 

Throughout the 1970s, 80s, and mid 90s, while remaining on the University of Illinois faculty (Professor Emeritus 1987), Brün held residencies and guest professorships around the world most notably at Ohio State University (1969-70), the Hochschule der Kunst and Technische Universtat, Berlin (Summer 1978), and Gesamthochschule Kassel (1989). From 1980, he toured and taught with the Performers' Workshop Ensemble, a group he founded. His awards and honors include an honorary doctorate from the University of Frankfurt, one prize from the International Society of Bassists, (1977), and the Norbert Wiener medal from the American Society for Cybernetics 1993. He helped found the School for Designing Society in 1993 and taught there through the year 2000. Brün wrote and spoke incisively on the social and political significance of composition and on the tendencies of language to preempt thought.  He died in Urbana, Illinois in the year 2000.

Earlier Event: October 8
OPTION: Greg Kelley Solo & Discussion
Later Event: October 14
Performative Tours of Mt. Shamao