Richard Lerman

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Richard Lerman (Dec 5, 1944 in San Francisco, CA) is a composer and sound artist whose, "work...centers around his custom-made contact microphones of unusually small size,"[1] including, "piezo disks and other transducers".[2] He studied with Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, and David Tudor.[1]

Richard Lerman is the populist of field recording technology. He makes inexpensive (under $1) microphones out of piezoelectric disks (small, flat pieces of metal), attaches them to blades of grass, and lets raindrops fall on them. Sometimes he lets hundreds of ants walk all over them in the desert. The sounds he produces are immediate, shocking, intensified, and brilliant. His work expands the infinitesimal sounds of the natural world into noises that are wide and surrounding, changing our human sense of scale.

— Rothenberg & Ulvaeus (2001), [3]

He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Sound Art (Video & Audio) for 1987-88.[4] He also works in film, having had a show at MOMA,[1] and is currently working on advanced programming in DVD creation.[2]

Lerman's work is often site-specific. Pieces include Travelon Gamelon, for amplified bicycles; A Seasonal Mapping of the Sonoran Desert, which includes cactus needles plucked by rainfall; and the collaboration (with Mona Higuchi) Threading History, for which he recorded prison camp barbed wire.[1] In the 80s he lived in Boston and taught at the Museum School and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Layne, Joslyn (2011). "Richard Lerman",; and Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, eds. (2001). All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music, p.1103. ISBN 978-0-87930-627-4.
  2. ^ a b "Richard Lerman",
  3. ^ David Rothenberg, Marta Ulvaeus (2001). The Book of Music and Nature: an Anthology of Sounds, Words, Thoughts, p.243. ISBN 978-0-8195-6408-5.
  4. ^ "Richard Lerman",
  5. ^ Hugh Marlais Davies and Apollohuis (1986). Echo: The Images of Sound, p.92.

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