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John Morton

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Avant-garde composer John Morton was born in 1954 and grew up in Los Angeles. He was the son of Arthur Morton, who primarily wrote orchestrations for film and television music, but also worked as a composer, for instance writing the theme and music for The Waltons, and as a child Morton heard him working at home. He played piano and trumpet, but didn't get serious about music until he dropped out of college and began studying with David Scheinfeld in San Francisco. Returning to school, he attended the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and studied with Morton Subotnick. After finishing, he moved to New York City in 1978. There, while working in a bookshop, he looked for opportunities for his compositions to be heard, and found them initially in loft concerts with friends. He experienced a creative breakthrough when his wife, sculptor Jacqueline Shatz, persuaded him to help her create a music box sculpture. He began disassembling music boxes and rebuilding them in different configurations, then creating compositions to be played on them. He started to gain greater recognition and was commissioned to create a work by the Greenwall Foundation that became "A Delicate Road," a collaboration with choreographer/dancer David Appel, which was given its premiere at the Kitchen, a performance space in New York, in September 2000. In the summer of 2001, Morton was artist-in-residence in the Arts/Industry Program at the Kohler Factory in Sheboygan, WI. On July 1, 2001, Innova Records released his first album, Outlier: New Music for Music Boxes, including "A Delicate Road" among other compositions. Solo Traveler: Music for Music Boxes, followed in April 2007. ~ William Ruhlmann

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s