Charlemagne Palestine

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Charlemagne Palestine
Charlemagne Palestine.jpg
Palestine performing at the LMC Annual Festival of Experimental Music in London on November 30, 2007
Background information
Birth name Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine
Origin Brooklyn, New York
United States
Genres Minimalist
Occupation(s) Musical performance artist
Instruments Vocals, piano, organ, harmonium, spoken word
Associated acts Phill Niblock, Glenn Branca
Website Official website

Charlemagne Palestine (born Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine) is a performance artist from New York.[1][2]

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947, Palestine began by singing sacred Jewish music and studying accordion and piano. At the age of 12 he started playing backup conga and bongo drums for Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Kenneth Anger, and Tiny Tim.[3] From 1962–69 Palestine was daily carillonneur for the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan,[1] eventually creating a piece that consisted of 1,500 15 minute performances.

From 1968-72, Palestine studied vocal interpretation with Pandit Pran Nath,[3] experimented on kinetic light sculptures with Len Lye, composed music for Tony and Beverly Conrad’s film "Coming Attractions," taught at Cal Arts with Morton Subotnick,[3] created the sound and movement piece Illuminations with Simone Forti, and developed his own alternative synthesizer, The Spectral Continuum Drone Machine. Throughout the seventies Palestine created records, videos, sculptural objects, abstract expressionist visual scores and performed regularly in the company of his stuffed animals. From 1980 to 1995 Palestine performed only rarely, exhibiting instead at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and in documenta 8. During that time he also founded the Ethnology Cinema Project in New York, which is dedicated to preserving films that document disappearing traditional cultures.

After moving to Europe in 1995, in addition to creating exhibitions, Palestine performs regularly, re-releasing older material and developing new videos and sonic projects.[4]

Selected discography: solo works[edit]

  • 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.[5]
  • 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[edit]

  • 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.
  • Charlemagne Palestine and Rhys Chatham Youuu + Mee = Weee. Sub Rosa, 2014.

Art Exhibitions[edit]

Charlemange Palestine, who has long incorporated bears and plush toys into his performances, created the contemporary art exhibit Bear Mitzvah in Meshugahland[6] now on display at The Jewish Museum in New York City.


  1. ^ a b Hickling, Alfred (4 March 2010). "Charlemagne Palestine – a man who plays the whole building". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Pontegnie, Annie (1 September 2002). "Charlemagne Palestine". Artforum International. Retrieved 14 December 2015 – via  – via HighBeam (subscription required). 
  3. ^ a b c Gray, Louise (1 September 2002). "Invisible Jukebox: Charlemagne Palestine". The Wire (223): 21–23. 
  4. ^ Guzman, Antonio (April 1, 2004). Sacred Bordello: Charlemagne Palestine. London: Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 978-1901033793. 
  5. ^ Marley, Brian (1 June 2003). "Charlemagne Palestine: In Mid-Air". The Wire (232): 67–68. 
  6. ^ "Charlemagne Palestine's Bear Mitzvah in Meshugahland". The Jewish Museum. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 


  • 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.
  • 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.

External links[edit]