Jonathan Bepler (born 1959) is an American composer of experimental music perhaps best known for his collaborative work with artists and choreographers, including 20 years of work with visual artist Matthew Barney. He is also multi-instrumentalist, singer, installation artist, and teacher.
Early life and education
Bepler was born in Media, Pennsylvania. He was self-taught in many instruments during his teen years. In 1993 he graduated from Bennington College in Vermont, where he studied composition with Louis Calabro, Joel Chadabe and Vivian Fine, singing with Frank Baker and Theodor Uppman as well as musical performance with Milford Graves, Bill Dixon und Min Tanaka. In the period of his studies he was involved in the production of Baroque opera such as Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. He served as both singer and director.
From 1985 to 1996, Bepler served as a guitarist for the Glenn Branca Ensemble, touring with them through Europe, the United States and Asia. Starting in 1987, his first operas were composed. Since 1993, Bepler also dedicated himself to sound installations (Source to Sound) as well as to music for drama and ballet. He was the composer for The Cremaster Cycle, a series of films created in 1996 by Matthew Barney. In 1997, Bepler was a soloist at the world premiere of the opera Der Venusmond by Burkhard Stangl at the Empire State Building. He also received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (1999).
Starting in 2000, Bepler worked as a composer at the Berlin Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz with Sasha Waltz and Lisa Densem. In 2003, together with John Jasperse he created the piece California for the Festival International de Danse a Cannes. In 2006, the Ensemble Modern executed his piece Fascia at the Schauspielhaus Frankfurt. The composer has collaborated again with Matthew Barney on the five-hour film 'River of Fundament. This art film was produced in the years 2006 to 2014 and was presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music after its completion.
- Automation of Accidental Gestures sound installation and sculptures by Sue Rees (with Fred Lomberg-Holm, Jennifer Monson, Hope Clarke, Tom Goralnik, Dan Froot and others) in New York, Miami und Pittsfield, 1992-95
- Source to Sound, sound installation, 1993
- On Balance, audio installation, 2000
- The Order, sound installation for the Cremaster cycle exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2003
- Double quartet for: together again for the first time, video and sound installation, 2005
- Innana, Tanz-Oper (with Christina Svane), 1987
- The Great Belzoni, Cabaret-Opera, 1990
- Keep Your Hands Off, chamber music for piano, saxophone, cello, bass, guitar and drums, 1997
- Primary Orifice for the Glenn Branca Ensemble, 1998
- Ruins, video opera project, 1999
- Transient Symphony: Oratorio for Hillside and Valley, mobile sound track for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Trienniale, 2003
- The Rape of the Sabine Women, video opera project with Eve Sussman, 2005
- Gezeiten, music for the dance drama by Sasha Waltz, 2005
- Fascia, concert piece for orchestra, children's choir, opera soloists and foley artists, 2006
- Masterpieces of Fantasy, 1997
- Cremaster 5, Original Soundtrack Recording, 1998
- Alternative Schubertiade (Anthology), 1999
- Music for Cremaster 2, 1999
- State of the Union (Anthology), 2001
- Music for Cremaster 3, 2002
- Transient Symphony, 2003
- "Jonathan Bepler :: Foundation for Contemporary Arts". www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- Adrian Searle: Jonathan Bepler: 'The music comes from within the film', Interview with The Guardian (London) on River of Fundament, 18 June 2014