From the Houston Chronicle:
Max Neuhaus, a percussionist with Houston ties who pioneered a field of contemporary art known as sound installation, died Tuesday of cancer at his home in Marina di Maratea, Italy. He was 69.
Josef Helfenstein, director of the Menil Collection, described Neuhaus as a sculptor who worked with nonmusical sound instead of traditional materials such as clay or steel. Neuhaus’ second permanent U.S. museum piece, Sound Figure, was installed at the Menil in May.
“He is really part of that generation who changed art in the 1960s,” Helfenstein said. “What he did is very radical, actually. … He managed to define space with sound.”
Born in Beaumont in 1939, Neuhaus began performing as a percussionist when he was 14. He graduated from Lamar High School in 1957 and trained at the Manhattan School of Music. During the 1960s, he performed solo recitals of contemporary music by composers such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen at a time when it was rare for a percussionist to be a soloist.