David Borden

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David Borden
Born (1938-12-25) December 25, 1938 (age 81)

David Russell Borden [1] (born December 25, 1938 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American composer and keyboard player of minimalist music.


In 1969, with the support of Robert Moog, he founded the synthesizer ensemble Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company in Ithaca New York. Mother Mallard performed pieces by Robert Ashley, John Cage, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich. In addition to his work with electronics and the Mother Mallard ensemble, Borden has written music for various chamber and vocal ensembles. He is also an accomplished jazz pianist.

David Borden was educated at the Eastman School of Music and Harvard University. At Harvard he studied with Leon Kirchner and Randall Thompson, and at Eastman with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson. He was also a Fulbright student in Berlin Germany, where he studied at the Hochschule für Musik .

Borden's compositions are similar to the repetitive minimalist style of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley. Borden is also very interested in counterpoint, best demonstrated in his large scale series of works The Continuing Story of Counterpoint, Parts 1-12.

David Borden was commissioned to write the score to the 1973 film The Exorcist by director William Friedkin. However, less than a minute of Borden's music was actually used in the film (Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells was prominently featured on the soundtrack instead.)

Borden participated in the many activities surrounding the 30th anniversary of the founding of Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company in 1999, including several live performances and CD reissues on the Cuneiform record label.

His The Continuing Story of Counterpoint (a twelve-part cycle of pieces for synthesizers, acoustic instruments and voice) has been called the "Goldberg Variations of minimalism.'" John DiLiberto

Four books have cited and discussed his work. In keeping with his interdisciplinary approach to his life and work, two books deal with American music history, one with music technology and one with the paintings of George Deem:

Borden's music is recorded by the Cuneiform, New World Records, Lameduck and Arbiter labels.

His first composition teachers were jazz musicians Jimmy Giuffre and Jaki Byard. He collaborates and performs with his son, Gabriel Borden and stepson, Sam Godin. Borden resides in Ithaca, NY with his wife, Rebecca Godin. He is the retired founder and Director of the Digital Music Program (now the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center) at Cornell University.

Selected works

Discography (Mother Mallard and David Borden)

Film scores


See also

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  1. Randel, Don Michael (1996). The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Belknap Press. p. 94.