Tom Johnson

American composer and critic Tom Johnson (born November 18, 1939 in Greeley, Colorado), is one of the few composers to self-identify as minimalist; in fact, he may have coined the term while serving as the new music critic for the Village Voice. He has since collected those articles in the book The Voice of New Music which is available for free through the external link below. He has lived in Paris since 1983.

His pieces are most often based simply on mathematical and logical processes, such as tiling, which he attempts to make as clear as possible. His works include: Rational Melodies, An Hour for Piano, Organ and Silence, and The Four Note Opera. As Greg Sandow (2003) describes Nine Bells, "in which he walked, at a steady rhythmic pace (and, if I remember correctly, for more than an hour), among nine suspended burglar alarm bells, systematically exploring all the possible paths among them. Which, since he strikes each bells as he passes it, are also all the possible melodies their pitches might make. As in many of Tom's works, theory and practice are identical here... You see and hear the structure of the piece. That's not even remotely abstract; instead, it's pure happiness, as the pealing bells seem to ring with Tom's concentration (visible in his face and body, audible in his steady steps), and his joie de vivre."

Year / Artworkader Title Importance Medium
1999-2003 An Hour for Piano 4.00 stars  9CD
Virgil Thomson Comments:
CD 8:

Jeroen van Veen - Piano