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News - John Eaton 1935-2015

Indiana University
Friday, December 4, 2015
John Eaton, one of America's most prominent composers of microtonal music, died at the beginning of December 2015. Over his long career composing and teaching, he was on the faculties of Indiana University and the University of Chicago.

Among the best known of his operas are The Cry of Clytemnestra, which received great public and critical acclaim. The Tempest was called a "formidable intellectual as well as musical achievement…an opera of stark beauty" by Michael Walsh of Time Magazine following its premiere by the Santa Fe Opera.

In 1993 he formed the Pocket Opera Players, which presented his operatic pieces for a small group of musicians in a new form. Of his last pocket opera, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times said "…opera is a form of drama, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button kept me involved right through."

In 1990, Eaton received a "genius" award from the MacArthur Foundation. His music was chosen to represent the USA in 1970 at the International Rostrum of Composers. He received a citation and award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, three Prix de Rome Grants, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and, among others, commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He lectured at the Salzburg Center of American Studies, and was Composer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

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