Herbert Brün

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Herbert Brün (July 9, 1918 – November 6, 2000) was a composer and pioneer of electronic and computer music. Born in Berlin, Germany, he taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1962 until he retired, several years before his death.


Brün left Germany in 1936 to study piano and composition at the Jerusalem Conservatory (later renamed Israel Academy of Music) in (then) Palestine.[1]) He studied at Tanglewood and Columbia University from 1948 through 1950. His work as an electronic-music composer began in Paris in the late 1950s, at the WDR studio in Cologne, and at the Siemens studio in Munich.[2]

Joining the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1962, Brün began research on composition with computers, which resulted in pieces for tape and instruments, tape alone, and graphics.[3] His compositions from this period include Futility 1964 (1964) and Non Sequitur VI (1966). His notable students include Stuart Saunders Smith.

Brün began programming in FORTRAN in the late 1960s as he pursued an interest in designing processes. This work resulted in Infraudibles (1968) and Mutatis Mutandis (1968). The work included the creation of graphical representations of computer-generated music.

In 1972, Brün created a new synthesis technique which generated new timbres by linking and merging tiny portions of waveforms. (Efforts along similar lines are described in the article Granular synthesis.) From 1980 on, he toured and taught with the Performers' Workshop Ensemble, a group he founded.

Brün was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Goethe University Frankfurt, and the Norbert Wiener medal from the American Society for Cybernetics in 1993. He helped found the School for Designing a Society in 1993 and taught there through the year 2000.

Brun's students at the University of Illinois were referred to, often pejoratively, as Brünettes.[4]

Selected works[edit]



  1. ^ emf.org Nb: Josef Tal had emigrated to Israel in 1934.
  2. ^ Enslin 2001.
  3. ^ Enslin 2001.
  4. ^ Preissing, Christopher, Interview, University of Illinois School of Music, January, 1989.

External links[edit]