Musicological Manhunt Successfully Concluded

My partner in minimalist conference-running David McIntire actually went to San Francisco and visited the elusive Dennis Johnson this week, composer of the five-hour piano piece November and gaining quite a belated reputation recently as a minimalist pioneer. Dennis is self-admittedly dealing with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but he staves it off via physical exercise and took our musicologist friend on quite a hike. Turns out Dennis was born November 22, 1938, so we have that now for the reference works; and David saw some music, without enough context to make sense of it yet. On a clear day Dennis can see the Golden Gate Bridge from his apartment, and David sent me a few photos of him. I can’t think now why I had pictured him as tall and heavy-set:

Dennis1

Dennis4

Comments

  1. Alan Zimmerman says

    Another elusive character from that era is hiding just up the road in McKinleyville – Joseph Byrd.

    KG, wielding a torch, replies: We’ll smoke him out!

  2. says

    This is good news. I hope he’s enjoying this new round of appreciation.

    The bookshelf behind him sparked my curiosity. I zoomed in: he’s boning up on geometry and Clara Bow. Hooray!

    KG replies: I’m told he is, and yeah, I noticed that.

  3. says

    I didn’t actually see any new music when I visited Dennis, but he had a copy of Kyle’s realization in a prominent place among his things. He told me he was beyond delighted when it arrived in the mail. His perception of the recent attention towards his music is quite vague, but he’s very pleased to hear ‘November’ in full, at long last. He did tell me that he still works on mathematics, mainly geometry.