Rhys Chatham

Born Sep 19, 1952

Rhys Chatham is an American composer, guitarist, and trumpet player, primarily active in avant-garde and minimalist music. He is best known for his "guitar orchestra" compositions. He has lived in France since 1987.

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Rhys Chatham.

  • Bushwick’s Oneida Keeps Avant Rocking On
    The Brooklyn Paper - Jan 29, 2014
  • Stalled In The Mirror Stage: Why The Jack Goldstein And Gretchen Bender Shows Leave Us Seeing Largely The Retro In Their Retrospectives
    Huffington Post - Sep 20, 2013
  • A Letter From... Liverpool #6
    Clash - Aug 29, 2012
  • Arthur Russell: From Avant Classical Minimalism To Disco
    Boing Boing - Apr 06, 2012


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Rhys Chatham.


1952 Birth Born on September 19, 1952.


1971 18 Years Old In 1971, while still in his teens, Chatham became the first music director at the experimental art space The Kitchen in lower Manhattan. … Read More


1977 24 Years Old By 1977, Chatham's music was heavily influenced by punk rock, having seen an early Ramones concert.
1978 25 Years Old He was particularly intrigued by and influential upon the group of artists music critics would label No Wave in 1978. … Read More


1987 34 Years Old It was also included on the 1987 album that also included his 1982 composition Die Donnergötter (German for "The Thundergods").
1991 38 Years Old Members of the New York City noise rock band Band of Susans began their careers in Chatham's ensembles; they later performed a cover of Chatham's "Guitar Trio" on their 1991 album, The Word And The Flesh. (This parallels the way that members of fellow NYC noise rockers Sonic Youth began their careers in Branca's ensembles; Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth did play with Chatham as well.) … Read More


2002 49 Years Old In 2002, he enjoyed a resurgence following the release of a limited-edition 3 CD retrospective box set on the record label Table of the Elements, An Angel Moves Too Fast To See: Selected Works 1971-1989, complete with 130-page booklet. … Read More


2005 52 Years Old In 2005, he was commissioned by the city of Paris, in his adopted homeland, to write a composition for 400 electric guitars entitled A Crimson Grail, as part of the Nuit Blanche Festival. … Read More
2007 54 Years Old 1 More Event
In February 2007 he completed a twelve-city tour called the Guitar Trio (G3) Is My Life North America Tour, which was accompanied by the original film by Robert Longo that was projected behind the performance, entitled Pictures for Music (1979). … Read More
2008 55 Years Old Rhys Chatham made his first American presentation of a composition for a one-hundred guitar orchestra in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 2008, with an orchestra composed of local students and teachers, as well as many professional guitarists. … Read More
2010 57 Years Old Examples of this style can be heard on Chatham's releases, The Bern Project, released by Hinterzimmer Records in January 2010, and Outdoor Spell, released in March 2011 by Northern Spy Records.
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