Kyle Gann

Kyle Gann, born 1955 in Dallas, Texas, is a composer and was new-music critic for the “Village Voice” from 1986 to 2005. Since 1997 he has taught music theory, history, and composition at Bard College. His books include “The Music of Conlon Nancarrow”, “American Music in the 20th Century”, “Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice”, “No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage’s 4’33″”, “Robert Ashley”, “Essays After a Sonata: Charles Ives’s Concord”, and “The Arithmetic of Listening: Tuning Theory and History for the Impractical Musician” (forthcoming). Gann studied composition with Ben Johnston, Morton Feldman, and Peter Gena, and his music is often microtonal, using up to 37 pitches per octave. His major works include “Sunken City”, a piano concerto commissioned by the Orkest de Volharding in Amsterdam; “Transcendental Sonnets”, a 35-minute work for choir and orchestra commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir; “Custer and Sitting Bull”, a microtonal, one-man music theater work he’s performed more than 30 times from Brisbane to Moscow; “The Planets”, commissioned by the Relache ensemble; and “Hyperchromatica” for three retuned, piano-driven pianos. In 2007, choreographer Mark Morris made a large-ensemble dance, “Looky”, from five of Gann’s works for Disklavier (computerized player piano). His writings include more than 3000 articles for more than 45 publications, including scholarly articles on La Monte Young, Henry Cowell, John Cage, Edgard Varèse, Ben Johnston, Mikel Rouse, John Luther Adams, Dennis Johnson, and other American composers. He was awarded the Peabody Award (2003), the Stagebill Award (1999) and the Deems-Taylor Award (2003) for his writings. His music is available on the New Albion, New World, Cold Blue, Lovely Music, Mode, Other Minds, Meyer Media, New Tone, Microfest, and Monroe Street labels. In 2003, the American Music Center awarded Gann its Letter of Distinction, along with Steve Reich, Wayne Shorter, and George Crumb.

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Julius Eastman performing “Piano Pieces I-IV”, 1968; Music Library, University of New York at Buffalo Julius Eastman performing “Piano Pieces I-IV”, 1968; Music Library, University of New York at Buffalo
American Composer
Julius Eastman: a portrait.