The 2006 Festival of Microtonal Music
The Claremont Colleges Present
A Symposium and Concert to Honor the 80th Birthday of Composer
April 15, 2006
Symposium begins at 12:00 noon at Boone Hall, Music Department, Scripps College, Dartmouth and Tenth, Claremont
The concert begins at 8:00 pm at
Lyman Hall, Thatcher Music Building, Pomona College, College and Fourth, Claremont
Both events are free and open to the public
For more information, contact Bill Alves 909/607-4170
– Kyle Gann, Village Voice
One of the best nonfamous composers this country has to offer...
Ben Johnston studied with Darius Milhaud and John Cage, but his best known mentor
was Harry Partch, who introduced him to Just Intonation. Johnston combined extended Just tunings
with advanced serial and rhythmic techniques in the 1960s, and his experiments with theatrical
and conceptual forms and electronics also reflect Cage's influence. However, beginning in his
well known String Quartet #4 (1973), "Variations on Amazing Grace," his music often takes the
listener on a journey around an intricate web of tonal relationships through Just Intonation.
His later works create a new perspective on the vernacular as well as the spiritual. Johnston
taught at the University of Illinois from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. He has been a
Guggenheim Fellow and received commissions from Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the American
Music Center, the Concord String Quartet, the Fromm Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute, ICSM
and others, His works have been recorded by the Kronos Quartet, the St. Louis Symphony, the
Swingle Singers, and pianist Roger Shields.