Palestine performing at the LMC Annual Festival of Experimental Music, Cochrane Theatre London, 30th November, 2007
|Birth name||Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine|
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York
|Occupations||Musical performance artist|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, organ, harmonium, spoken word|
Life and career
A contemporary of Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Phill Niblock, and Steve Reich, Palestine wrote intense, ritualistic music in the 1970s, intended by the composer to rub against Western audiences’ expectations of what is beautiful and meaningful in music. A composer-performer originally trained to be a cantor, he always performed his own works as soloist. His earliest works were compositions for carillon and electronic drones, and he is known for his intense piano performances. He also performs as a vocalist. In Karenina he sings in the countertenor register and in other works he sings long tones with gradually shifting vowels and overtones while moving through the performance space or performing repeated actions such as throwing himself onto his hands.
Palestine's Strumming Music (1974) remains his best known work. It features over 45 minutes of Palestine forcefully playing two notes in rapid alternation that slowly expand into clusters. He performed this on a nine-foot Bösendorfer grand piano with the sustain pedal depressed for the entire length of the work. As the music swells (and the piano gradually detunes), the overtones build and the listener can hear a variety of timbres rarely produced by the piano. A recording of Strumming Music was also Palestine's second vinyl album in the 1970s, reissued on CD in 1991. Since then, several additional recordings from the 1970s (featuring Palestine on piano, organ, harmonium, and spoken word), including new recordings of more recent works such as Schlingen-Blängen, have become available.
Selected Discography: Solo Works
- Karenina. 2 CDs. Solo performance with Indian harmonium and falsetto voice, rec. March 1997 in Paris. London: World Serpent Distribution.
- Schlingen-Blängen. Solo performance for organ. US: New World Records, 1999.
- Four Manifestations on Six Elements. Solo pieces for piano and for electronics. Belgium: Barooni Records.
- Godbear. Solo pieces for piano. Belgium: Barooni Records.
- Strumming Music. Solo piece for piano. Felmay, San Germano, Italy, 1995; reissue of New Tone recording nt6742
- Three Compositions for Machines. Staalplaat, 1997.
- Schlongo!!!daLUVdrone. Organ of Corti, 2000.
- Jamaica Heinekens in Brooklyn. Piece for found sound and electronic drones. Belgium: Barooni Records.
- Alloy. Alga Marghen, 2000.
- Continuous Sound Forms. Alga Marghen, 2000.
- Charlemagne at Sonnabend. 2 CDs. CP, 2001.
- Music for Big Ears. Staalplaat, 2001.
- In Mid-Air. Alga Marghen, 2003.
- Old Souls Wearing New Clothes. VPRO, 2003.
- A Sweet Quasimodo between Black Vampire Butterflies: For Maybeck. Cold Blue, 2007.
- The Apocalypse Will Blossom. Yesmissolga, 2008.
- Voice Studies. LP only. Alga Marghen, 2008.
- From Etudes to Cataclysms. 2 CDs. Sub Rosa, 2008.
- "Strumming Music for Piano, Harpsichord and String Ensemble". 3 CDs. Sub Rosa, 2010.
- "Relationship Studies". LP. Algha Marghen, 2010.
- "Two Electronic Sonorities". LP. Algha Marghen, 2012.
Selected Discography: Collaborations
- Pan Sonic and Charlemagne Palestine. Mort aux vaches. Staalplaat, 2000.
- Charlemagne Palestine, David Coulter and Jean Marie Mathoul. Maximin. Young God Records, 2002.
- Charlemagne Palestine, David Coulter, Michael Gira and Jean Marie Mathoul. Gantse Mishpuchach / Music in Three Parts. Fringes Recordings, 2004.
- Charlemagne Palestine and Tony Conrad. An Aural Symbiotic Mystery. Sub Rosa, 2006.
- Charlemagne Palestine, Terry Jennings, Tony Conrad, Robert Feldman, Rhys Chatham. Sharing a Sonority. Alga Marghen, 2008.
- Charlemagne Palestine and Christoph Heemann. Saiten in Flammen. Streamline, 2009.
- Charlemagne Palestine and Janek Schaefer. Day of the Demons. Desire Path Recordings, 2012.
- Voegelin, Salome. Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. London: Continuum. 2010. Chapter 2 Noise, pp. 50-52.
- Johnson, Tom (1989). The Voice of New Music: New York City 1972–1982: A Collection of Articles Originally Published by the Village Voice. Eindhoven, Netherlands: Het Apollohuis. ISBN 90-71638-09-X. Available for free download at: 
- Palestine, Charlemagne (2004). Sacred Bordello. Book with CD. Milan: Alga Marghen.
- Voegelin, Salome. Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. London: Continuum. 2010. Chapter 2 Noise, pp. 50–52.
- Charlemagne Palestine official Web site
- Interview in ESTWeb
- "Matter—Viewpoint: Do you still identify yourself as an American composer? —Charlemagne Palestine", from NewMusicBox, November 1, 2002
- 2002 Interview with Daniel Varela
- Kyle Gann on Music After Fact
- Conversation between Charlemagne Palestine and André Éric Létourneau (In French) - Web site of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- Charlemagne Palestine in the Video Data Bank