Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer, and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.
Karlheinz Stockhausen (22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important (Barrett 1988, 45; Harvey 1975b, 705; Hopkins 1972, 33; Klein 1968, 117) but also controversial (Power 1990, 30) composers of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music" (Hewett 2007).
Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer (in English; August 14, 1910 – August 19, 1995) was a French composer, writer, broadcaster, engineer, musicologist and acoustician of the 20th century. His innovative work and in both the sciences —particularly communications and acoustics— and the various arts of music, literature and radio presentation after the end of World War II, as well as his anti-nuclear activism and cultural criticism garnered him a wide array of appraisal in his lifetime.
David Eugene Tudor (January 20, 1926 – August 13, 1996) was an American pianist and composer of experimental music. Tudor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied piano with Irma Wolpe and composition with Stefan Wolpe and became known as one of the leading performers of avant garde piano music. He gave the first American performance of the Piano Sonata No. 2 by Pierre Boulez in 1950, and a European tour in 1954 greatly enhanced his reputation.
John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker, and amateur mycologist and mushroom collector. A pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century.
Morton Feldman (January 12, 1926 – September 3, 1987) was an American composer, born in New York City. A major figure in 20th century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown.
La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer and musician. Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his proto-Fluxus and "minimal" compositions question the nature and definition of music and often stress elements of performance art.
Iannis Xenakis (Ιωάννης Ιάννης Ξενάκης) (May 29, 1922 – February 4, 2001) was a Greek composer, music theorist and architect. He is commonly recognized as one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers. Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematical models such as applications of set theory, varied use of stochastic processes, game theory, etc. , in music, and was also an important influence on the development of electronic music.
Richard Gavin Bryars (born 16 January 1943) is an English composer and double bassist. He has been active in, or has produced works in, a variety of styles of music, including jazz, free improvisation, minimalism, historicism, experimental music, avant-garde and neoclassicism. Born in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, Bryars initially studied philosophy at Sheffield University before studying music for three years.
Cornelius Cardew (7 May 1936–13 December 1981) was an English avant-garde composer, and founder of the Scratch Orchestra, an experimental performing ensemble. He later rejected the avant-garde in favour of a politically motivated "people's liberation music".
Michael Allan "Mike" Patton (born January 27, 1968) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, composer, producer, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, film actor, and voice actor, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Faith No More. He has also handled lead vocals for Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Lovage, Fantômas, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Zu and Peeping Tom.
Alvin Lucier (born May 14, 1931) is an American composer of experimental music and sound installations that explore acoustic phenomena and auditory perception. A long-time music professor at Wesleyan University, Lucier was a member of the influential Sonic Arts Union, which included Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma.
Pauline Oliveros (born May 30, 1932, Houston, Texas) is an American accordionist and composer who is a central figure in the development of post-war electronic art music. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s, and served as its director. She has taught music at Mills College, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Christian Marclay (born 1955) is an American visual artist and composer based in New York. Marclay's work explores connections between sound, photography, video, and film. A pioneer of using gramaphone records and turntables as musical instruments to create sound collage, Marclay is, in the words of critic Thom Jurek, perhaps the "unwitting inventor of turntablism.
Anthony Braxton (born June 4, 1945) is an American composer, saxophonist, clarinettist, flautist, pianist, and philosopher. Braxton has released well over 100 albums since the 1960s. Among the array of instruments he plays are the flute; the sopranino, soprano, C-Melody, F alto, E-flat alto, baritone, bass, and contrabass saxophones; and the E-flat, B-flat, and contrabass clarinets.
Richard Maxfield (February 2, 1927 – June 27, 1969) was a composer of instrumental, electro-acoustic, and electronic music. Born in Seattle, he most likely taught the first University-level course in electronic music in America at the New School for Social Research.
Nicolas Collins (born March 26, 1954 in New York City) is a composer of mostly electronic music and former student of Alvin Lucier. Collins received a B.A. and M.A. from Wesleyan University. He often uses home-made electronics and found sound such as skipping CD players or radio broadcast and is currently Editor in Chief of the Leonardo Music Journal. He is also the chair of the sound department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
American musician Max Neuhaus (August 9, 1939 – February 3, 2009) was a percussionist and interpreter of contemporary music of the 1960s who moved on to become a pioneer in the field of sound art, a term he rejected but with which he is nonetheless associated. He has created numerous sound works that have extended sound as an autonomous medium into the domain of contemporary art. Born in Beaumont, Texas, Neuhaus grew up in Pleasantville, a Westchester-County suburb of New York City.
Hermann Nitsch (born 29 August 1938) is an Austrian artist who works in experimental and multimedia modes. Born in Vienna, Nitsch received training in painting during the time he studied at the Wiener Graphische Lehr-und Versuchanstalt. He is called an "actionist" or a performance artist. He is associated with the Vienna Actionists, and like them conceived his art outside traditional categories of genre.
Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse, whose name was also spelled Edgar Varèse (December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965), was an innovative French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States. Varèse's music features an emphasis on timbre and rhythm. He was the inventor of the term "organized sound", a phrase meaning that certain timbres and rhythms can be grouped together, sublimating into a whole new definition of music.
Luigi Russolo (April 30, 1885 – February 4, 1947) was an Italian Futurist painter and composer, and the author of the manifesto The Art of Noises (1913). He is often regarded as one of the first noise music experimental composers with his performances of "noise concerts" in 1913-14 and then again after World War I, notably in Paris in 1921. He is also one of the first theorists of electronic music.