James Tenney Remembered 1934-2006

I just learned this morning that my CalArts Professor, James Tenney, passed away in August of this year.

I remember the first day of class with him. James mentioned that when people asked what kind of music he wrote, he would sometimes respond with, “I write unpopular music.” I have since used that line many times myself.

One of my favorite works of his is For Ann (rising), a process music composition featuring an endless rising glissando. This glissando is similar to Jean-Claude Risset’s. In my opinion, Tenney’s is more musically interesting, and the illusion of the glissando is much more transparent.

James is also one of the performers in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte, which is featured on Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music.

James, you will be missed.

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