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Brian McCorkle

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Brian McCorkle
Background information
Born (1985-07-19) July 19, 1985 (age 38)
Detroit, Michigan
GenresConceptual composition, Opera, New Music, Avant-garde jazz, free jazz, contemporary classical
Occupation(s)composer, vocalist, pianist, guitarist
LabelsGold Bolus Recordings
Associated actsPanoply Performance Laboratory, Varispeed Collective, Robert Ashley

Brian McCorkle is an American singer, songwriter, and actress, best known for his experimental music, operas created with Panoply Performance Laboratory[1] and work with Robert Ashley[2]

Early life and education[edit]

McCorkle was raised in Southern Michigan, performing with the Battle Creek Boychoir as a child.[3] His brother Colin McCorkle is also a musician, playing with American Idol contestant Nathan Walton[4]

McCorkle attended University of Michigan and received a BA with a double major in music and comparative literature in 2007.



McCorkle creates experimental music,

In 2007, McCorkle joined Panoply Performance Laboratory, lead by performance philosopher Esther Neff, with whom McCorkle had collaborated at University of Michigan as composer for productions of Mother Courage and her Children, Woyzeck, and an unreleased film In the Company of Eshu.[5] Their operas and performance work has been described as "working to distill a bevy of sophisticated ideas into action."[6]

McCorkle founded Varispeed Collective with 4 other composer-performers in 2011, including Gelsey Bell, Paul Pinto, Dave Ruder, and Aliza Simons.[2]

Earlier in his career, McCorkle released a number of albums as a multi-instrumentalist bedroom pop artist, under the unfortunate name What Color is Your Machine Gun?[7]

Theatre and Opera[edit]

In 2013, McCorkle first became involved with Banana Bag & Bodice's Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, a musical investigation of Beowulf which was performed at the Adelaide Festival and in residence at Alliance of Resident Theaters in Cambridge, MA.

In 2014, McCorkle was a performer in Crash, which was the last work of composer Robert Ashley.[8][9]


as Brian McCorkle

  • live at JACK (2016)

with Panoply Performance Laboratory

  • Institute_Institut (Gold Bolus Recordings, 2014)
  • Presenting As You (Gold Bolus Recordings, 2016)

With Varispeed

  • Empty Words (Gold Bolus Recordings, 2019)


  1. Cata, Lee. "Holy Roughness". Posture Magazine. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Smith, Steve. "Robert Ashley's Legacy Assessed". New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  3. LaGaccia, David. "Singing Off the Heat of Being Alive". Hyperallergic.
  4. Dely, Devin. "How 'American Idol' inspired a 'cannon of a voice'". Local Spins.
  5. "Home | Panoply Performance Laboratory".
  6. Soloski, Alexis. "Theatre of the Absurd". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  7. "What Color Is Your Machine Gun?". What Color Is Your Machine Gun?.
  8. Smith, Steve (14 April 2014). "Robert Ashley's Work Lives On at the Whitney Biennial". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  9. Schweitzer, Vivien (16 April 2015). "Review: Robert Ashley's 'Crash' Opens at Roulette". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2017.

External links[edit]

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