Tom Johnson: February 14, 2013

Village Voice music critic and modern composer Tom Johnson has published two books, and created over 70 musical works, including for piano (1971’s “An Hour for Piano”), with text (1987’s “Eggs and Baskets”), for radio (“J’Entends un Choeur,” 1993), and, most notably, opera. After obtaining his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Yale, Johnson studied some with composer Morton Feldman, and has since composed for a variety of settings. His most highly regarded opera, “The Four Note Opera,” has gone on to be performed dozens of times, and in a number of languages, since its 1972 premiere. Another oft-performed work is “Failing: A Difficult Piece for Solo String Bass,” which requires the performer to speak throughout the already-challenging composition. While living in New York, Tom Johnson wrote about modern composition for The Village Voice from 1972-1982, before moving to Paris, which has been his home since 1983. His articles for the New York paper can be found in the book The Voice of New Music (Apollohuis, 1991). Johnson also wrote a book on his music theories, Self-Similar Melodies (Editions 75, 1996).


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