Personalities | Henry Cowell | Modern Era | Classical

American composer

From his childhood, Cowell was interested in ‘New Musical Resources’ – also the title of an influential book he published in 1930 – experimenting in his teens with tone-clusters (groups of adjacent notes played on the piano with the fist, palm or forearm) and, not long after, with plucking or strumming the piano’s strings. A pioneer of complex rhythm and of aleatory music, in which performers make some of the composing decisions, his output was prolific. He was also an influential teacher, of John Cage (1912–92) and Gershwin, among others, and his New Music Edition published the work of Ives and Ruggles.

Recommended Recording:
Quartets, Colorado Quartet et al (Mode)

Introduction | Modern Era | Classical
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