The New York Observer on Glenn Branca



MR. BRANCA TREATS rehearsals like workshops. “Continuity is absolutely crucial. These people understand what I want without me having to say it. I don’t like to perform. What I like to do is one thing and one thing only: sit behind my desk, in my own home, with my computer in front of me, and write music.”

When he speaks about his creative process, his crankiness melts away. Outside the space, during a break, Mr. Branca smoked (he rolls his own cigarettes, storing them in a crumpled Camel soft pack he keeps in his shirt pocket) and chatted about the evolution of the piece. It will be the second premiere for Mr. Branca this year; his The Ascension: The Sequel debuted in February.

“This is a piece that I’ve wanted to do for like 25 years, so I did have a lot of notes. In fact, this is kind of a look back at, uh, my beginnings. I didn’t want to say that. It’s a fucking cliché, but it is true because I love acoustic instruments. I love sound. I love timbre. That’s really interesting to me, but it’s rare I get to do it because I’m working either with my ensemble or the 100 guitars, or for an orchestra, which has a specific set type of instrumentation. I’m using everything I know. It’s what I do every day, what I think about, for 35 years, so I’m kind of putting everything and the kitchen sink in the fucking piece.”

Hence Music for Strange Orchestra finds Mr. Branca covering somewhat new territory, with new instruments and dynamics. Back in the rehearsal space, a musician held aloft a silver gong she’d been dealt that looked like a hubcap or a pot lid. “What do I hit this with?” she asked. “I have no idea. …” Mr. Branca replied. This night, the group was rehearsing the first of the piece’s seven movements, and its most diversely orchestrated, with each player logging seven or even eight instruments to play apiece. “Boy, this is gonna be fucking weird,” Mr. Branca addressed the ensemble.

….to read the rest of Bring This Man His Kazoo: Glenn Branca Builds a New Piece Using Everything and the Kitchen Sink by J. Gabriel Boylan, visit the New York Observer here.


Glenn Branca will be performing the world premiere of his Symphony No. 15 “Running Through the World Like an Open Razor” (music for strange orchestra) at Le Poisson Rouge in New York on November 20th and 21st. This Kickstarter project is to fund the recording and release of this performance as a limited edition, numbered vinyl recording. The final product will be a double disc 180-gram numbered vinyl with custom artwork by a surprise guest artist. With Le Poisson Rouge’s state of the art sound system and recording equipment we can produce an audiophile quality recording of the performance for a limited edition release. For more information on the performance or tickets to the show go here.

….check out some of the other articles on Glenn below, and we hope to see you this weekend!