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SEQUENZA21: Review of Tom Johnson In Los Angeles (the wulf.) PDF Print E-mail
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A nice review of Tom Johnson concert at the wulf just appeared in SEQUENZA21, the website of the Contemporary Classic Music Community.

We reproduce it below for your convenience.

Tom Johnson In Los Angeles

Posted by Paul Muller in Composers, Concert review, Contemporary Classical, Los Angeles, Minimalism, Premieres, tags: minimalism, the wulf, Tom Johnson

On Friday, February 22 the week-long 2013 residency of Tom Johnson in Los Angeles was capped off with a concert of his music at the wulf., an experimental performance space deep in the gritty heart of industrial downtown. Featured was the Los Angeles premiere of  ’Clarinet Trio’ and four other works, plus the occasion was also marked by the release of a new CD of Tom’s works titled ‘correct music’ from Populist Records. About 50 people crowded into the reclaimed factory loft to attend the event and what the wulf lacks in amenities was more than compensated by the enthusiasm of the young audience. The concert was free and there was an ice chest full of  Tecate beer – what’s not to like?

Tom Johnson’s time in Los Angeles this past week was spent giving lectures on mathematics and music at Cal Arts, hosting an exhibition of his drawings in the Art Share LA gallery and presiding over concerts of new music. Tom has deep minimalist roots and, according to the concert notes, “works with simple forms and limited sonic materials, utilizing logic and mathematical models in both his music and his drawings.”

(read complete review here)

Tilework for Percussion [free audio download] PDF Print E-mail
Music - Compact discs

After seeing and hearing the interpretation of Nine Bells (1979) in Dijon by the American percussionist Adam Weisman, I encouraged Weisman to take another look at Tilework for Percussion, and a few months later I was delighted to receive this recording, which he made in his own studio in Berlin. Usually when percussionists try to play this piece we don’t hear tilework at all, but rather single lines, with everything connected. Weisman, however, understood that we want to hear the individual tiles/voices and how they fit together, even though this makes the performance task much more difficult.

Tom Johnson, Paris September 2010  

Listen to Tilework for Percussion, played by Adam Weisman 

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Download Tilework for Percussion


Séminaire MaMuX (2012-2013) [Français-French] PDF Print E-mail
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 Séminaire MaMuX (2012-2013)


 Vendredi 22 mars 2013: L'esthétique des nombres: Modèles combinatoires, groupes et théorie des graphes.


 Séance organisée à l'occasion de la sortie du livre Looking at Numbers, de Tom Johnson et Franck Jedrzejewski.


IRCAM, salle Stravinsky

1, place I. Stravinsky - 75004 Paris

Entrée libre


TOM JOHNSON & FRIENDS - Los Angeles residency PDF Print E-mail
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Press Release: January 10, 2012; Los Angeles, CA

From February 14–22, Paris-based composer Tom Johnson will be in residence in the Los Angeles area. His residency will feature two lectures, two live performances at the downtown LA experimental arts performance space the wulf., and an exhibition of his drawings at ArtShare LA, a gallery and theater space also in downtown LA. The opening of the exhibition will also include a set of performances. Tom Johnson will be joined by fellow composers Dante Boon (Amsterdam), Andrew McIntosh (LA), Brian Parks (Middletown), and Michael Winter (LA).

Download press release


CD: Rational Melodies [Dedalus] PDF Print E-mail
Music - Compact discs
Released by New World Records 
“I am particularly pleased, because the result is so different from the solo flute recording of Eberhard Blum and the solo clarinet recording of Roger Heaton. It is not just another interpretation, but a case where interpreters have added so much insight to the music that the music itself has grown. When I was composing this music around 1982, I really thought I was simply writing melodies, but now these little pieces, though remaining melodies, have become something much more, something I would never have imagined. They have become what you hear on this CD.”        Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson (b. 1939) belongs to a generation of American composers who founded musical minimalism. We know that this term was first applied to the visual arts, notably to Donald Judd, Robert Morris, and particularly Sol LeWitt, whom Johnson recognizes as an influence. However, it wasn't the repetition in itself that interested him, but rather the idea of music as a process. Steve Reich applied this idea brilliantly in his phase pieces. But after 1975, while the same Reich distanced himself from the radicalism of his first works, and younger American composers came out with music that was lusher, more expressive, even sentimental, Johnson insisted on the unrelenting rigor of formalized processes. The Rational Melodies, composed in 1982, may be regarded as the outcome of this research, first of all by their sheer quantity, but also by the fact that they summarize brilliantly and clearly procedures from the past, present, and future, which together characterize his work: combinations of cycles of different lengths (I, IV, XI, XVII, XVIII), permutations (VII, X), the paper-folding or "dragon" formula (II, XIX), other automata (XVI, XX), or self-similar structures (XIV, XV).”        Gilbert Delor



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