Tenney, James

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Tenney, James

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James Tenney (1934-2006), composer and educator, was born in Silver City, New Mexico and grew up in Arizona and Colorado where he received his early training as a composer and pianist. He was educated at the University of Denver, the Juilliard School of Music and Bennington College where he received his BA in 1958. He received an MMus from the University of Illinois in 1961. His teachers included Chou Wen-chung, Kenneth Gaburo, Lejaren Hiller, Lionel Nowak, Carl Ruggles, Edward Steuermann and Edgard Varese. As a performer, he was the co-founder and conductor of the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble in New York City from 1963-1970 and has performed with the ensembles of John Cage, Philip Glass, Harry Partch and Steve Reich, among others. He has long been interested in the field of computer and electronic music and, as such, worked with Max Matthew and others at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the early 1960s to develop programs for computer sound-generation and composition. He is the author of numerous articles on musical acoustics, computer music, musical form and musical perception and is the author of "META-HODOS : a phenomenology of 20th century musical materials and an approach to the study of form," (1964, 1988), and "A history of consonance and dissonance," (1988). He taught in the Music Department at York University in Toronto, ON from 1976 until 2000 after teaching New School for Social Research, the California Institute for the Arts and other American schools. Tenney is a modern composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano and electroacoustic music with over fifty works completed including "Quintext : five textures for string quartet and bass," "Sonata for ten wind instruments," and "Clang for orchestra." He has collaborated with Carolee Schneemann and Stan Brakhage on film projects and is an expert on the music of Conlon Nancarrow. He has also been commissioned by several organizations for compositions, has released several recordings of his compositions and arrangements and published numerous scores. Up to the time of his death on 24 August 2006, he was the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Music in the School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts.


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2014/10/31 Anna St.Onge. Partial update, correction of bio sketch.


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