Composers James M. Brody and Franz T. Kamin were both killed in a car crash in Roseville, Minnesota, on Sunday, April 11, 2010. Brody was driving when his car left the road, jumped a curb, and hit a tree. Kamin, Brody’s friend and one-time composition teacher, was in the passenger seat. Their names were released on April 12, 2010, by the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office.
New Mexico-based James Brody was an important figure in the development of electronic music in the Midwest. While still a student at Indiana University, where he studied with Iannis Xenakis in addition to Kamin, he served as a teaching assistant in IU’s electronic studio during its first years. He also wrote the liner notes for the original Nonesuch LP, Iannis Xenakis: Electroacoustic Music. He composed numerous works that were presented at the annual International Computer Music Conference, Sonic Circuits, and SEAMUS. In addition, he also composed many works for acoustic instruments, including Traces for solo woodwinds and brass, piano, harp, percussion and strings, which was commissioned and performed by the Harrisburg Symphony in 1994. Brody was a co-founder of CAPASA in San Antonio and the Baltimore Composers Forum.
Milwaukee-born composer and pianist Franz Kamin studied composition at the University of Oklahoma with Spencer Norton and at Indiana University with Roque Cordero. At IU, he was also a piano student with Alfonso Montecino. In the late 1960s, working with James Brody, Kamin organized the weekly FIASCO meetings in Bloomington, Indiana. These meetings attracted composers, poets, artists, and other creative persons and became a focal point for experimental projects. After some time, even the university world accepted the creative presence of FIASCO, and faculty persons exhibited and performed under its independent aegis. One of Kamin’s works which he felt was the culmination of this period is The Concert of Doors, a synaesthetic work in which a number of doors, each of vastly differing design, some found, some constructed, ranging from comical to mysterious, were set on a path through a woods to be traversed by the audience-participants. In the 1970s, Kamin lived in New York, where he worked with legendary avant-garde cellist Charlotte Moorman. He later moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where for the past 20 years he had presented a series of Birthday concerts.