Obituary: Composer Jon Gibson, 80

Posted on: October 19, 2020

“Jon Gibson, a composer, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and collaborative musician who had a profound effect on the creation and dissemination of what would come to be known as ‘minimalist’ music, died Oct. 12 at a hospital in Springfield, Mass.,” writes Tim Page in Wednesday’s (10/14) Washington Post. “He was 80…. In a career spanning almost six decades, Mr. Gibson wrote music for solo instruments, electronics, dance, music theater and opera. His most ambitious creation was ‘Violet Fire,’ a 90-minute opera about the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla.… Mr. Gibson played in the world premiere performances of three hugely influential works that changed the musical zeitgeist in America: Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ (1964), Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’ (1971) and Philip Glass’s ‘Music in 12 Parts’ (1974)…. He worked with … Bay Area musicians including Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros and Phil Lesh…. He married a longtime friend and collaborator, choreographer and dancer Nancy Topf, in 1973 and they had a son, Jeremy. Topf was killed in the crash of Swissair Flight 111 over Nova Scotia in 1998…. In recent years, Mr. Gibson had played and toured with his son Jeremy’s playful ensemble Sir Jarlsberg, which offers an idiosyncratic mixture of Renaissance music and hip-hop that they called ‘Hark Hop.’ ”