Glenn Branca dies age 69

The American composer, who was influential in drone and minimalist music, passed away from throat cancer.

  • Words /
    Andrew Ryce


Glenn Branca has died.

His wife and collaborator Reg Bloor shared the news via Facebook, saying he died yesterday (May 13th) due to throat cancer. Branca was an important figure in drone music and minimalism, known especially for his pieces for guitar, such as the famous Symphony No. 13 For 100 Electric Guitars. He composed on his own and alongside the likes of Rhys Chatham.

His albums Lesson No. 1 and Ascension, from 1980 and 1981 respectively, are influential records in the avant-garde canon. Branca was also an important part of the Downtown New York scene in the late '70s, playing in the no wave band Theoretical Girls, staging bracing solo guitar performances and working with artists like Thurston Moore, Michael Gira, Z'EV and Y Pants. 

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