Franz Kamin

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Franz Kamin in Speaking Portraits

Franz Kamin (May 25, 1941 – April 11, 2010) was an American author, composer, poet, performance-installation artist, and pianist whose works explore structural principles derived from topology, general systems theory, prosody, and meditational processes in unusual combinations of genre and technique. He made use of conventional instruments and children's toys; sound poetry and puppet theater; choreography and speaking chorus; systematic chance operations and both programmed and otherwise uncommon improvisation; performance scribbling and the live reading of narrative texts.[1]

Born in Milwaukee, Kamin studied composition at the University of Oklahoma with Spencer Norton, and at Indiana University with Roque Cordero, where he also studied piano with Alfonso Montecino. While at IU, Kamin, together with fellow composer James Brody organized FIASCO, an experimental collective which meet weekly in Bloomington from 1966 to 1972. Among his compositions from this period was "The Concert of Doors", a synaesthetic work in which a number of doors, each of vastly differing design, some found, some constructed, ranging from comical to mysterious, were set on a path through a woods to be traversed by the audience-participants.[2] Kamin moved to New York City in the 1970s and collaborated with cellist Charlotte Moorman, a fixture in the downtown avant-garde scene at that time. He eventually settled in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he remained for the rest of his life.[3]

Kamin published two books full books of trans-genre work: Ann-Margret Loves You & Other Psychotopological Diversions (1980) and Scribble Death (Station Hill Press: Barrytown, New York). Several of his shorter works, musical scores and an LP recording of Behavioral Drift II and Rugugmool have also been published.[4]

He was killed in a car crash in Roseville, Minnesota when a car driven by James Brody, who also died, left the road, jumped a curb, and hit a tree. The two composers were returning from a SEAMUS festival in St. Cloud, Minnesota.[3][5] Their names were released on April 12, 2010, by the Ramsey County medical examiner's office.[6]


  1. ^ "Franz Kamin". Barrytown/Stationhill Press. Retrieved 2010-04-19.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Franz Kamin - Biography". Franz Kamin website. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
  3. ^ a b Oteri, Frank (April 13, 2010). "Two Composers Killed in Car Crash". New Music Box. American Music Center. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
  4. ^ "Franz Kamin Biography". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  5. ^ Coombs, Marianne (April 13, 2010). "Two composers, one fatal car crash". MPR News. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
  6. ^ Brewer, John (April 12, 2010). "Names released of men killed in Roseville crash; investigation continues". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 2010-04-19.