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Subject: Jon Gibson, Minimalist Composer, founding musician in the Philip Glass Ensemble

Dead at 80
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Date Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 03:38:44pm

Jon Gibson, a multi-instrumentalist and founding musician in the Philip Glass Ensemble, has died after battling recent health problems. Glass confirmed the news on social media. Jon Gibson was 80 years old.

Gibson was an early adopter of minimalism, which drove his work his work as a composer and woodwinds performer beginning in the early 1960s. He performed in the premieres of Terry Riley’s In C in 1964 and Steve Reich’s Drumming in the early 1970s. Prior to that, Reich had written his 1966 work Reed Phase for Gibson.

Gibson was also a founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble, participating in the group from its start in 1968 and through the duration of his life. In his statement, Glass credited Gibson with introducing the technique of circular breathing to the Ensemble, adding, “To put it bluntly, the music wouldn’t have happened without that.”

Jon Gibson released a handful of albums across his career, beginning with Visitations, which he issued on Glass’ Chatham Square imprint in 1973. He followed it with Two Solo Pieces in 1977 after participating in the premiere of Glass’ landmark Einstein on the Beach in 1976. Across his life, Gibson also collaborated with artists like LaMonte Young, Harold Budd, and Arthur Russell. He released a few more albums later in life: In Good Company in 1992, followed by Criss X Cross in 2006 and The Dance in 2013.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco label Superior Viaduct released Songs & Melodies, 1973-1977, a collection of archival recordings that followed the 2016 release of Gibson’s album Relative Calm.


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