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Harry Partch
Music review: Ben Johnston shines in MicroFest spotlight
Music review: Ben Johnston shines in MicroFest spotlight

More than 20 years ago, the music critic John Rockwell described Ben Johnston in the New York Times as "one of the best nonfamous composers this country has to offer." What has changed is that Johnston is now, I'd suggest, our best nonfamous composer. At 86, he isn't exactly unknown. The Kronos Quartet has long been one of his champions. He's a legend, at least in the world of microtonality, which explores the pitches that fall between the keys of the piano. But Ben Johnston continues to be ignored big-time by our big musical institutions. A rare all-Johnston concert Wednesday — which included the belated world premiere of his most recent major piece, 30...

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