Dennis Johnson (composer)

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Dennis Johnson (born 1938) is credited as having composed the first truly 'Minimal' composition ‘November’,[1] which was written for solo piano in 1959 (later revised).

‘November’ is famous for being the inspiration for Johnson’s UCLA college friend La Monte Young’s 1964 composition ‘The Well-Tuned Piano’.[2]

The work has been painstakingly reconstructed from a 1962 (112min) cassette recording, and six pages of the original score, by the composer and musicologist Kyle Gann,[3] who first performed a four and a half hour version in 2009 with Sarah Cahill. Gann has produced a new performance score based on the original material that R. Andrew Lee has recorded in a five hour version released in 2013 by Irritable Hedgehog Music, receiving good reviews[4][5] and a renewed interest in this seminal work of minimalism.

Dennis Johnson gave up music around 1962 and moved into mathematics (working for a time at Caltech, the private research university in Pasadena)[2] leaving this one fascinating and influential work that features many of the elements that would later become the basic staples of 1960s and early 1970s ‘Minimalism’.

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