Monday, April 28, 2008

Henry Brant (1913-2008)

Henry Brant, the composer best known as a pioneer of "spatial" music, has died at the age of 94 at his home in Santa Barbara, CA.

Brant, who was born in Montreal and moved to New York in 1929, decided in the 1950s that “single-style music . . . could no longer evoke the new stresses, layered insanities, and multi-directional assaults of contemporary life on the spirit.”

His 1953 work "Antiphony I," for five groups of instruments placed at a distance from one another onstage and in the auditorium, was the first of many pieces in which Brant treated space as music's "fourth dimension," the other three being pitch, time and timbre.

After teaching at Columbia University and the Juilliard School, Brant taught composition at Bennington College (1957-80). His orchestral work "Ice Field" won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2002.

More on Henry Brant and his music: