The former new-music critic for The Village Voice, Gann has composed over 100 works of music. Gann has authored the books Robert Ashley (2012),American Music in the 20th Century (1997), Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice (2006), No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage's 4'33" (2010), and The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995). A professor of music at New York’s Bard College since 1997, Gann was awarded the
Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center in 2003 and the Peabody Award
for his writings. His latest work, Essays After a Sonata: Charles Ives’s Concord focuses on Ives’ “Concord Sonata,” a musical representation of 19th-century, transcendentalist authors living in Concord, Mass.: Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and her father, Bronson, and Henry David Thoreau.
Gann will present a lecture “Charles Ives: Translating Literature into Sound” on Feb.
12 at 7:30 p.m. in Presser Hall room 258. A concert of Gann’s music, including the
world premieres of Transcendentalist Songs and Implausible Sketches, will be presented Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Westbrook Auditorium. Both events are free
and open to the public.
Currently directed by Fern Rosetta Sherff Professor of Music David Vayo, the Symposium
of Contemporary Music at IWU began in 1952. The annual event brings prominent guest
performers or composers to the university. Vayo said Gann is one of the world's foremost
authorities on 20th-century and contemporary concert music of the United States. "He's
a figure of real significance to contemporary music," Vayo said. The symposium is
also part of the School of Music’s New Music Series.