Happy Day, Ben

Via Facebook, microtonal composer-guitarist David Beardsley posts this wonderful photograph by William Gedney, circa 1966, of composer (and, much later, my teacher) Ben Johnston for his 88th birthday today:


Still near the beginning of his microtonal period, around the time of his Quintet for Groups, Sonata for Microtonal Piano, and Third Quartet, he’s probably juggling 80 different pitches in his head.



  1. Michael Golzmane says

    Just listening to a few of his string quartets now, prompted by your post. What amazingly interesting and unique music! Definitely takes adjusting to–very gloriously. :-)

  2. says

    And there’s a new CD just about out, from John Schneider’s MicroFest label in LA, of three recent-ish Ben works (Parable, The Tavern, Revised Standards) with liner notes by yours truly.

    KG replies: Great! There was some talk of them also doing the Suite for Microtonal Piano along with some of my music.

  3. Bob Gilmore says

    Incidentally, if anyone reading this hasn’t heard Ben’s Quintet for Groups, his orchestra piece from 1966, not played for nearly 40 years, here’s a link to the performance at Donaueschingen a few years ago. Incredible piece. http://newdissonance.com/page/4/ (link at the bottom of the page)

    KG replies: Thanks, Bob, I recorded this off the computer. It’s really important for me to have it.