Our dear Ben Johnston has just celebrated his 84th birthday this week. Ben has been a constant to me as a dear friend, inspiring mentor, challenging teacher, and willing collaborator, and I was happy to be able to see him for the occasion of a colloquium held in his honor at Wright State University this past weekend. The event, American Innovators Series, 2010 Microtonal Weekend, actually featured two colloquia, one on the tuning practices of Owen Jorgensen, and one on Ben Johnston and the American Just Microtonal Tradition. The event was planned and organized by Dr. Franklin Cox of Wright State’s department of Music, who did a fine job in rounding up a diverse and insightful group of presenters and performers. The presentations included:

Master Class on Just Intonation by John Schneider

Reminiscences of Owen Jorgensen by Dr.Charles Larkowski,
Professor of Music, Wright State University

Overview of Historical Tuning Practices and Prospects for Research by Dr. Franklin Cox,
Assistant Professor, Wright State University

An Assessment of Owen Jorgensen’s Tuning by Fred Sturm,
Piano Technician, The University of New Mexico

What Owen Jorgensen Got Right by Momilani Ramstrum, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Mesa College

Living in Ben Johnston’s Expanded Universe by Dr. Kyle Gann,
Associate Professor, Bard College Conservatory of Music

An Afternoon with Ben by Stuart Saunders Smith,
Professor of Music, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Johnston’s eight-pitch scale: implications for conventional chord progressions, triadic harmony, and parallel thirds and sixths in his String Quartet No. 10 by Daniel Huey
Ph.D. candidate, The University of Massachussetts

The Re-recognition of Ben Johnston’s Quintet for Groups by Sandy Tabachnick

Music and Meaning in Ben Johnston’s Songs of Loss by Dr. Richard Pressley,
Adjunct Professor of Music, Indiana Wesleyan University

A Contrapuntal Cinema
by Jon Roy

Schisma and Kleisma in Ben Johnston’s String Quartet #7: Variations by Timothy Ernest Johnson,
Instructor in Theory-Composition, Roosevelt University

Blues Intonation in an Equal-Tempered Worldview by Jack Ballard, Jr., Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Music, Malone University

H-Chroma: quantitative tone chroma and its uses for Just Intonation composition and instrument design by Andrew Aaron Hunt
H-Pi Instruments, www.h-pi.com

Workshop in Extended Just Intonation with John Fonville
Professor of Music, University of California, San Diego