Guest Speaker

Kyle Gann

Kyle Gann, born 1955 in Dal­las, Texas, is a com­pos­er and has been new music crit­ic for the Vil­lage Voice (1986–2005). Since 1997 he has taught music his­to­ry and the­o­ry at Bard Col­lege. He is the author of The Music of Con­lon Nan­car­row (Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 1995) and Amer­i­can Music in the 20th Cen­tu­ry (Schirmer Books, 1997). A col­lec­tion of his Vil­lage Voice columns titled Music Down­town is forth­com­ing (Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press).

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 rhyth­mic lan­guage, based on dif­fer­ing suc­ces­sive and simul­ta­ne­ous tem­pos, was devel­oped from his study of Hopi, Zuni, and Pueblo Indi­an musics. His music has been per­formed on the New Music Amer­i­ca, Bang on a Can, and Spo­le­to fes­ti­vals. He received a 1994 com­mis­sion from Music in Motion for his Astro­log­i­cal Stud­ies, and in 1996–97 a Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts Indi­vid­ual Artists’ Fel­low­ship. A 2001 com­mis­sion from the Indi­anapo­lis Sym­phon­ic Choir result­ed in Tran­scen­den­tal Son­nets, a 35-minute work for choir and orches­tra, and he is cur­rent­ly writ­ing a tril­o­gy of micro­ton­al cham­ber operas with libret­tist Jef­frey Sichel, called The Hud­son Riv­er Tril­o­gy. The first opera,Cinderella’s Bad Mag­ic, was pre­miered in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

In addi­tion to Bard, Gann has taught at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, Brook­lyn Col­lege, the School of the Art Instu­tute of Chica­go, and Buck­nell Uni­ver­si­ty. His writ­ings include more than 2000 arti­cles for over 35 pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing schol­ar­ly arti­cles on La Monte Young (in Per­spec­tives of New Music), Hen­ry Cow­ell, Mikel Rouse, and oth­er Amer­i­can com­posers. He writes fre­quent­ly for Cham­ber Music mag­a­zine and the New York Times, and he was award­ed the Stage­bill Award (1999) and Deems-Tay­lor Award (2003) for music crit­i­cism. Also in 1999, his com­pact disc Custer’s Ghost was released on the Mon­roe Street label. In 2003, the Amer­i­can Music Cen­ter award­ed Gann its Let­ter of Dis­tinc­tion, along with Steve Reich, Wayne Short­er, and George Crumb.

his blog Post­Clas­sic is online since August 2004.