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Johnston, Ben



Ben Johnston (b. Mar. 15, 1926, Macon, Georgia, d. July 21, 2019, Deerfield, Wisconsin) is an American composer. Having received a BFA from William and Mary College in 1949, he attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, only to leave after a year to work with Harry Partch in California; he also enrolled in Mills College (MFA, 1952), where he studied with Milhaud. In 1951 Johnston began teaching at the University of Illinois; he was granted tenure in 1959, became a full professor in 1967, and retired from teaching in 1983 and moved to Rocky Point, N.C. where he continued to compose.

Johnston has composed in many genres and styles but is best known for his work in just intonation and microtonality. His most performed works include his opera Carmilla, the choral works Ci-Gît Satie and Sonnets of Desolation (both written for the Swingle Singers), his second, fourth, and sixth string quartets, the Duet for flute and string bass, and the Sonata for microtonal piano ("Sonata/Grindlemusic").

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ben Johnston papers

Identifier: Johnston
Scope and Contents

An archive of Johnston’s music manuscripts and correspondence files, recordings of his compositions and those written by others, memorabilia, etc.

Dates: 1939-2003; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1986