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Johnny Reinhard – Biography

Here, in his own words, is Johnny’s update to his previous biography, published in 2005, which is shown below.

Johnny Reinhard has made a number of major contributions to music. A virtuoso bassoonist, polymicrotonal composer, and performer on numerous musical instruments, he has premièred music from among the most accomplished contemporary composers (Haas, Sollberger, Eaton, Johnston, Vieru, Stahnke). He has directed and produced the American Festival of Microtonal Music centered in New York City for over 35 years. Reinhard realized the Charles Ives Universe Symphony, conducting its première on June 6, 1996 in Alice Tulley Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center. A commercially available compact disc was released in 2004 by Michael Thorne on the Stereo Society label.

Reinhard plays his signature compostion, Dune

Reinhard’s original compositions include: Odysseus cello concerto, Cosmic Rays string quartet, Raven sextet, Middle-Earth Symphony, and a number of written solos, including Dune and Zanzibar (bassoon), Eye of Newt (alto recorder), and Zelig Mood Ring (bass trombone). Reinhard authored the book Bach and Tuning (Peter Lang Verlag tbd). Reinhard holds an MM from Manhattan School of Music, and a BM from the North Carolina School of the Arts, both as a bassoon major. Reinhard introduced PITCH for the International Microtonalist in 4 issues, which was followed up with PITCH CDs (now including 17 titles).

Concert in 128-tuning, Fortress of Knin, Croatia 2014

Reinhard has presented Odetta, John Zorn, David Hykes, Theodossii Spasov, Babukishan, Ed Sanders. He has conducted première performances by Charles Ives, Edgard Varese, Harry Partch, Toby Twining, Wendy Carlos. Featured solo performances in London’s Barbican, Paris’ Centre de Pompidou, Venice’s Teatro la Fenice, Moscow’s Alternativa Festival, Croatia’s Fortress of Knin. Notable music partners include bass trombonist Dave Taylor, cellist Dave Eggar, violinist Tom Chiu, multi-instrumentalists Bradford Catler and Ron Kozak, guitarist Jon Catler, percussionist Rashied Ali and trumpeter Lew Soloff. Reinhard performed an Ornette Coleman solo at the Verizon Jazz Festival to critical acclaim, sang Harry Partch in a Viking castle in Bergen, Norway, and improvised at music venues in Sapporo (Japan), Kazan (Tartarstan, Russia), St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada) and Monterrey (Mexico).

In the past four years, Johnny Reinhard has been working almost exclusively with a tuning system called most simply: 128. This is the number of pitches in each octave found above the fundamental “A” at 440 hertz. Their origin is the 8th octave of the overtone series. Reinhard wrote a paper to explain its “raison d’etre” (read it here) and has developed an international ensemble of 128 virtuosi, including Philipp Gerschlauer (saxophone, Berlin), Jeroen Paul Thesseling (fretless electric bass, Amsterdam), Tolgahan Cogulu (microtonal guitar, Istanbul). Two commercially released recordings in 128 are titled True and Imagine in 128 and are available from Albany Music Distribution and CD Baby.

A Short 2005 Biography of Johnny Reinhard

When it comes to concert music, Johnny Reinhard has done it all. He is a celebrated composer, conductor, performer, teacher and commentator.

A native New Yorker, Reinhard is director and founder of the American Festival of Microtonal Music (AFMM) for 25 years, specializing in all manner of microtonal performance. Reinhard performs as a virtuoso bassoonist, as well as on the recorder, and as a vocalist specializing in the works of American microtonal pioneer Harry Partch. Reinhard has performed as a soloist throughout Europe and the United States, Japan, Canada, and Russia. He has played with such international virtuosi as kavalist Theodossii Spassov (Bulgaria), Thereminist Lydia Kavina (Russia), oboist Bram Kreeftmeijer (the Netherlands), and the FLUX Quartet (USA). In 2000 he was featured on bassoon by Ornette Coleman to critical acclaim in the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival. For fifteen years he played electric bassoon with Jon Catler’s rock group, The Microtones.

Reinhard has also notably completed a number of important works of composers in exemplary performance. These include his realization and subsequent premiere performance of Charles Ives’ Universe Symphony in 1996 in New York’s Lincoln Center, and the premiere of Edgard Varèse’s Graphs and Time in 1987 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Reinhard’s transcription of Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s Méditation sur deux thèmes (1917) for bassoon and piano was recorded for the CD Between the Keys for Newport Classics (now owned by Sony), and has been re-recorded for Solyd Records (Russia). Among his concert world premieres are Lou Harrison’s Simfony in Free Style, Terry Riley’s In C – Just Intonation Version, Percy Grainger’s Free Music for Theremin quartet, the original version of Harry Partch’s Ulysses Departs From the Edge of the World for trumpet, double bass and boobams, and Mordecai Sandberg’s orchestral Psalm 51.

As a composer, Reinhard’s original compositions feature polymicrotonality – either the active mixing of microtonal tunings in a single composition, or the invention of brand new pitch relationships (eg harmonic 17, quadratic prime just intonation, collapsed just intonation). Among his works are a symphony (Middle-earth), cello concerto (Odysseus, available from PITCH CDs), string quartet (Cosmic Rays), ballet (Left) a large number of virtuoso solo pieces for different instruments in distinctive tunings, and numerous works featuring unusual timbres and requiring different degrees of improvisation. Johnny Reinhard’s compositions can be heard on the Raven CD, released by the Stereo Society. In the early ‘90s he published the serial journal PITCH for the International Microtonalist, which has since evolved into the PITCH CD label.

In addition to playing and creating, Reinhard actively extends his knowledge to students of music. Currently professor of bassoon at New York University, Reinhard previously taught music composition and theory at C.W. Post, Long Island University, and Western art music at Columbia University. He has guest-lectured at renowned universities around the world including the Manhattan School of Music, CalArts, Indiana University, the Hamburg Hochschule in Germany, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow and York University in England. Reinhard introduced as vocalist the first performances of Harry Partch’s 43-tone just intonation works in Norway (International Bergen Festival), France (M.A.N.C.A.), Switzerland (RoteFabrik), Italy (Teatro la Fenice), Canada (Toronto, Winnipeg, and St. John’s), and England (London’s Barbican).

Always involved and opinionated, Johnny Reinhard is host of New York-based WKCR-FM radio’s popular four-hour Christmas Day Microtonal Bach program in their annual ten-day Bach Festival. He is an annual guest on John Schaefer’s New Sounds show on WNYC-FM, and was featured in radio programs by radio interviewers Anatol Vieru (Bucharest), Laurie Schwartz (Berlin/RIAS & Sender Frei), PILOTA radio (Bergen), and John Schneider (Los Angeles), among others.

Reinhard’s latest accomplishment is the recording of Charles Ives’ once legendary Universe Symphony, soon to be released on compact disc for the first time. The recording process took nearly five years to perfectly capture every nuance. Reinhard’s take on the Universe Symphony will be released by the Stereo Society in summer 2005.