“Glenn Branca passed away in his sleep last night from throat cancer." That was the statement released by Branca’s wife Reg Bloor yesterday.
In the late ’70s, Branca moved to New York City. He formed the Theoretical Girls whose sound was pivotal to the burgeoning No Wave scene. From there he led noisy, experimental “guitar orchestras and in 1981 started the label Neutral Records, which released some of Sonic Youth's early work.
In the following decades, he continued to make challenging and experimental guitar-based music including a symphony for 100 electric guitars which was performed at the base of the World Trade Center just a few months before 9/11.
He received numerous grants over the years for his work, and in 2008 he was awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
Glenn Branca was not known as a guitar hero in a traditional sense and being one was never likely what his mission was. His vision was way beyond a world of flashy solos. He was on a journey for something choral yet unsettling, pastoral yet creepy and disturbing yet beautiful. The many symphonies he composed over his life and the musicians from a wide range of genres he inspired are his testament.