Born Earle Appleton Brown Jr., December 26 in Lunenberg, MA


Private studies in trumpet and big band performances in Massachusetts


Attends Northeastern University in Boston and studies engineering and mathematics


Enters Air Force at the end of World War II.  Plays trumpet in Army Air Force Band in Randolph Field, Texas (now Randolph Air Force Base). Begins to study arranging with Paul Hindemith’s books on composition.


Studies at Schillinger House School of Music in Boston (now Berklee College of Music). Private study of Schillinger techniques during 1947-50 with Kenneth MacKillop; arranging and orchestration with Jesse Smith; counterpoint, form, and orchestration with Roslyn Brogue Henning.

Studies trumpet in Boston with Fred Berman


Home Burial, for piano


Receives certification as authorized instructor of Schillinger system

Moves to Denver with Carolyn Brown and teaches Schillinger techniques for two years


Three Pieces for Piano

Enrolls at Colorado College Summer School to study with Arnold Schoenberg, who later cancels the session because of health problems.  Brown arranges to study with Schoenberg in Los Angeles that summer but Schoenberg dies before they meet.

Meets John Cage and Merce Cunningham in Denver

Meets David Tudor in Boulder

Visits New York City and meets Morton Feldman, Richard Lippold, Ray Johnson, Danny Stern, Herbert Matter and others through Cage and Tudor


Music for Violin, Cello & Piano

Perspectives, for piano

David Tudor premieres Three Pieces for Piano (1951) on February 2 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, marking the New York premiere of Brown’s music

Moves to New York City in August

Joins the Project for Music for Magnetic Tape (summer 1951 to spring 1953) organized by Cage and Tudor with sound engineers Louis and Bebe Barron


Folio and 4 Systems, for variable instrumentation


Twenty-Five Pages, for 1-25 pianos

Octet I, for eight loudspeakers

Octet I premieres at Festival of Contemporary Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, March 22 along with magnetic tape works by Cage and Wolff

Tudor performs Perspectives and Three Pieces for Piano at Black Mountain College, July 1953


Indices, for chamber orchestra, commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Springweather and People)

Forgotten Piece, for solo or multiple pianos

Indices [Piano Reduction]

Octet II, for eight loudspeakers

Cage and Tudor perform works by Brown during their European concert tour, including Octet, 4 Systems, and Perspectives, October-November


Music for Cello and Piano


Recording engineer at Capitol Records

Occasionally attends Henry Cowell’s ‘Music of the Worlds Peoples’ class at the New School for Social Research


Four More, for solo or multiple pianos

First trip to Europe, December 1956 to February 1957, with travels to Paris, Baden-Baden, Milan, Vienna, Munich, Darmstadt, Cologne, Hamburg, and London; meets with Pierre Boulez, Heinrich Strobel, Hans Rosbaud, Bruno Maderna, Wolfgang Steinecke, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Otto Tomek, and William Glock.


The Kind of Bird I Am, for orchestra (homage to Max Ernst, duration 20 seconds)

Organizes Varese Jazz Sessions


Pentathis, for chamber ensemble, commissioned by Pierre Boulez and Domaine Musical

Second trip to Europe, which includes the premiere of Pentathis at Darmstadt conducted by Maderna, September 11


Hodograph I, for chamber ensemble


Producer of Contemporary Sound Series for Time / Mainstream Records in New York


Available Forms I, for chamber orchestra, commissioned by the City of Darmstadt


Available Forms II, for two orchestras, commissioned by Radio Orchestra of Rome; premiered in April at the Venice Biennale, conducted by Earle Brown and Bruno Maderna.

Novara, for chamber ensemble


Times Five, for chamber ensemble, commissioned by Service de la Recherche, L’Office de Radiodiffusion-Television Française (ORTF), Paris From Here, for chamber orchestra and optional chorus, commissioned by the Foundation for Contemporary Performing Arts

Sound of Void, sound sculpture collaboration with artist Vassilakis Takis in New York

Concert of works by Brown and Feldman at Town Hall, New York City, October 11, sponsored by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts established by Cage and Jasper Johns


Corroboree, for three or two pianos, commissioned by Radio Bremen for Bremen Festival

Music for Galerie Stadler, installation for four tape loops, Paris

Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic give the U.S. premiere of Available Forms II, February 6 (Bernstein and Brown, conductors)


Guest Composer/Lecturer, Darmstadt Summer Courses


Guggenheim Fellowship


Nine Rarebits, for one or two harpsichords, commissioned by Antoinette Vischer

String Quartet, commissioned by Südwestfunk Baden-Baden for Donaueschinger Musiktage

Lectures throughout the U.K. including York University, Royal College of Art, Goldsmith’s, Chelsea School of Art, St. Martins, and the Cardiff School of Art.


Lecturer, Musikhochschule Köln, (Conservatory of Music, Cologne) filling in for Stockhausen

Module I, for orchestra, commissioned by L’ Orchestre National de l’ORTF, Paris

Module II, for orchestra

Calder Piece, for four percussionists and mobile, commissioned by the Percussion Quartet of Paris

Guest composer-conductor at Primeras Jornados Americanas de Musica Experimental in Cordoba, Argentina


Event: Synergy II, for chamber ensemble, commissioned by French Radio for Festival de Royan

Conducted De Kooning by Morton Feldman, 1.65 AL by Anestis Logothetis along with Novara, December 1952, and From Here at the Second Hellenic Week of Contemporary Music in Athens, Greece.

Lectured at Darmstadt Festival of New Music


Guest Composer/Lecturer in composition, Tanglewood


Composer-in-Residence, Peabody Institute Conservatory of Music


Module III, for orchestra, commissioned by Festival de Zagreb

Small Pieces for Large Chorus


Syntagm, III for chamber ensemble, commissioned by Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Honorary Doctorate of Music, Peabody Conservatory

Featured Guest Composer/Conductor Contemporary Music Festival, St. Lawrence University


Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (Künstlerprogramm)

Exterior Examiner, Doctorate Program, York University, England


New Piece, for variable instrumentation

Featured Guest Composer/Conductor, Oberlin Conservatory Summer Festival and Institute

Composer-in-Residence/Conductor Aspen Music Festival


Time Spans for orchestra, commissioned by Hans Zender and the City of Kiel and premiered during the 1972 Munich Olympics
New Piece Loops, 
for orchestra and chorus, commissioned by Venice Biennale de Musica Internazionale Festival

Sign Sounds, for chamber orchestra, commissioned by SUNY Albany

Featured Guest Composer/Lecturer/Conductor, Contemporary Music Festival, Capital University Conservatory of Music Featured Guest Composer/Lecturer, State University of New York Koussevitzky Music Foundation Award and Commission

American Academy & National Institute of Arts and Letters Award


Centering, for solo violin and chamber ensemble, commissioned by London Sinfonietta for Paul Zukofsky


Composer-in-Residence, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Conservatory

New York State Council on the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts


Composer-in-Residence, California Institute of the Arts


Cross Sections and Color Fields, for orchestra, commissioned by the Denver Symphony and the Koussevitzky Foundation

Guest Professor, Basel Conservatory, Switzerland

Visiting Professor, SUNY Buffalo

Composer-in-Residence, Aspen Music Festival

Composer-in-Residence, Tanglewood


Visiting Professor, University of California at Berkeley


Visiting Professor, California Institute of the Arts

Brandeis University Creative Arts Award


Visiting Professor, University of Southern California


Wikiup, sound installation for six independent playing devices, commissioned by Independent Curators Incorporated.  Installed as a traveling exhibition “Supershow” in Berlin, Mesa, Cleveland, and St. Paul, 1979-80.


Windsor Jambs, for chamber ensemble, commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation


Visiting Professor, Yale University


Composer-in-Residence/Conductor, Aspen Music Festival

Composer-in-Residence, American Dance Festival, North Carolina

Featured Guest Composer/Conductor, Saarländischer Rundfunk Saarbrücken


Folio II, for variable instrumentation

Visiting Professor, University of Indiana


Sounder Rounds, for orchestra, commissioned by Saarländischer Rundfunk


Director, Fromm Music Foundation, curated Fromm Weeks of Music, Aspen Music Festival


Tracer, for chamber ensemble

Visiting Professor, Hochschule fur Musik

Guest Composer, DAAD Kunstler Program


Visiting Professor, University of Cincinnati, Conservatory of Music


Visiting Professor, Yale School of Music, Yale University


President, American Music Center


Oh, K, for chamber ensemble

Tracking Pierrot, for chamber ensemble


Summer Suite ’95, for piano


John Cage Award, Foundation for Contemporary Arts


Special Events, for violoncello and piano


Earle Brown died on July, 2 at his home in Rye, New York.

This chronology was compiled by Rebecca Y. Kim and Jason Cady. Last update: December 4, 2014

Earle Brown Music Foundation