Terry Jennings

Terry Jennings (19 July 1940–11 December 1981) was an American minimalist composer and performer. He died at a young age, 41 and his reputation has suffered, performances are few and far between.

He was a member of La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music. This is how I heard of him, the legend of La Monte Young. Listening to the pieces below, particularly For Christine Jennings 1960,  Winter Trees (1965) and Short & Sweet, I can hear his influence on Harold Budd.

The New Grove Dictionary of American Music states: “With Young and Terry Riley, Jennings was involved in the earliest developments of drone-inspired, modal, repetitive music. He is best known for two piano works of 1965, Winter Trees and Winter Sun, both of which exemplify the repetitive, nonvirtuoso keyboard style he was among the first to employ; sets of phrases are played quietly in a specified order but repeated at will, in relatively free rhythm, and with liberal use of the sustaining pedal, creating a meditative mood and an understated lyricism. Jennings had a decisive influence on such composers as Harold Budd, Peter Garland, and Howard Skempton, who in the early 1970s created a body of so-called ‘minimalist’ keyboard music and were among the few musicians to perform his works. In later years Jennings composed works in a neo-romantic style, including the song cycle The Seasons (1975).”

Hollywood bowl bio.


Short & Sweet

For Christine Jennings 1960


Gumi Shibata: Winter Trees (1965) Japan Premiere! Winter Sun (1966) by Terry Jennings

Terry’s G Dorian 12-Bar Blues (9×5)

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