Master of Music (MM)



Document Type



Max Neuhaus (1939–2009) was a pioneer in the creation of site-specific auditory works entailing social interaction, and today he is recognized as one of the first artists to extend sound as a medium into the world of contemporary art. The pieces he produced between 1966 and his recent death have been dubbed “sound art,” a term that covers a wide variety of work related to sound and aural perception, but one associated more closely with the realm of visual and performance art than with music. Yet Neuhaus, whose self-professed mission was to encourage listeners to “think about [sounds] in new and unexpected ways,” entered the world of contemporary art only after passing through the musical avant-garde of the 1960s, where he served as a leading interpreter of works for percussion. This thesis chronicles Neuhaus’s early career as a performing musician, arguing that his experiences within the musical avant-garde set the stage for his later work as a sound artist. Special attention is paid to the 1968 recording Electronics & Percussion: Five Realizations by Max Neuhaus, an LP that reveals Neuhaus as an artist exploring the boundaries separating the roles of performer, collaborator, and creator.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Boutwell, Brett

Included in

Music Commons