For a list of my published reviews, please click here.

For a list of what else I’ve been up to recently, please click here.

To contact me about writing programme notes, sleevenotes, biographies or anything else, please email timrutherfordjohnson AT gmail DOT com.


Music After the Fall: Modern Composition and Culture since 1989 (University of California Press, 2017). The first book to survey contemporary Western art music within the transformed political, cultural, and technological environment of the post–Cold War era, placing it in the context of globalization, digitization, and new media. More details here.

The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 6th edition (Oxford University Press, 2012). New edition features a complete editorial overhaul, as well as the addition of 100+ entries on contemporary composers and completely new coverage of jazz, popular and non-Western musics. Translated into Spanish by Manuel Pijoan, 2015, with a prologue by Marcel Gorgori.


‘Across the Great Divide’, The Wire, no.397 (March 2017), 24–9 [on experimental music from Canada]

‘Contemporary Strings 3: Pierre Boulez’s Anthèmes II‘, Amati Magazine, 26 March 2015

‘Contemporary Strings 2: Helmut Lachenmann’s Grido‘, Amati Magazine, 27 February 2015

‘New Music and Globalization’, NewMusicBox (4 December 2014 to 6 January 2015) [article in four parts: 1, 2, 3, 4]

‘Contemporary Strings 1: Liza Lim’s Invisibility‘, Amati Magazine, 29 October 2014

‘Calling time on the orchestra?’, Amati Magazine, 8 July 2014

‘The Night Thing’, BBC Proms Official Guide, 2014, pp.90–91 [feature on late night Proms concerts, including Pet Shop Boys, Laura Mvula, Rufus Wainwwright and Paloma Faith]

‘It ain’t what it used to be’, Amati Magazine, 15 April 2014

‘In remembrance of Robert Ashley’, Amati Magazine, 31 March 2014

‘Whose tune is it anyway?’, Amati Magazine, 17 February 2014

‘To write, or to listen?’, Amati Magazine, 29 January 2014

‘Is it enough just to listen?’, Amati Magazine, 16 January 2014

‘The Influence Engine: Steve Reich and Pop Music’, New Music Box (27 March 2013) [On the influence, or not, of Steve Reich]

‘Just Inside the Green Line’, The Journal of Music (10 September 2012) [On Cyprus’s Pharos International Festival of Contemporary Music]

‘Some Recent Silences’, NewMusicBox (25 April 2012) [A John Cage centenary tribute on silent music since 4’33”]

‘The Ghost of the Avant Garde’, Guardian Music Blog (23 April 2012) [On Luigi Nono’s La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura]

‘The Search for a Voice: The Composers of Ricordi London in 2011’, Ricordi VIP magazine, December 2011

‘It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’ve been’, NewMusicBox (5 October 2011) [on Joshua Fineberg and the Pharos Contemporary Music Festival]

‘Patterns of Shimmer: Liza Lim’s Compositional Ethnography’, Tempo, no.258 (October 2011)

‘Two Worlds’, The Journal of Music (19 April 2011) [on Michel van der Aa’s Up-close]

‘New Music’, BBC Proms Guide 2011, 68–75 [Short features on each of the 26 world, UK and London premieres in the 2011 Proms season. Includes Georges Aperghis: Champ–Contrechamp; Harrison Birtwistle: Violin Concerto and Angel Fighter; Pascal Dusapin: Morning in Long Island and String Quartet no.6; and Robin Holloway: Fifth Concerto for Orchestra]

‘A Journey to Aaron Cassidy’s Second String Quartet’, NewMusicBox (9 February 2011)

‘Seeking Substance Over Style’, INTO, no.17 (February/March 2011), 22–29 [profile of Jonathan Cole]

‘Staging Kurtág’s Private Theatre’, INTO, no.15 (November 2010), 28–33

‘Yanks in the UK’, NewMusicBox (13 October 2010)

‘Processes of Revelation: Liza Lim’, INTO, no.14 (October 2010), 26–31

‘An Unexpected Proms Date with Beyoncé and her Single Ladies’, The Guardian Music Blog (2 September 2010)

‘A Super-Collision of East and West’, interview with Dai Fujikura for Kings Place (June 2010)

‘Xenakis: So what does a wiggly line sound like?’, The Guardian (4 June 2010)

‘Bridging the Gap’, INTO, no.9 (May 2010), 30–36

‘Young at Heart?’, INTO, no.5 (January 2010), 32–37

‘Richard Barrett’s Archaeology of Memory’, INTO, no.4 (December 2009), 20–25

‘The World’s Most Complex Music’, The Guardian (13 Nov 2009)

‘The St Luke Passion as Britain’s First Encounter with Sonorism’, Muzyka, liii/1 (2008), 131–9

‘”Shiny and New”? Rereading Madonna’s Virgin’, British Postgraduate Musicology, no.6 (2004)

‘Klang.Bilder: Ian Wilson und sein neues Streichquartett “Veer”‘, Musikfreunde, Sept/Oct (2003), 32–5

‘Out of Belfast and Belgrade: the Recent Music of Ian Wilson’, Tempo, no.224 (2003), 2–9

‘Communication and Experience: Some Observations on the Relationship Between Composer and Performer in Játékok‘, Studia Musicologica, xliii (2002), 281–7

‘Rudolf Steiner and Learning Through the Body in Kurtág’s Játékok‘, Piano Journal, no.69 (2002), 19–22

Programme notes

(See also my programme notes page for a complete list arranged by composer.)

String quartets by Bryars, Richter and Volans (Duke Quartet, Kings Place, 22 May 2015, part of the Minimalism Unwrapped season)

Works by Glass, Pärt, Pérotin and Tüür (O/MODERNT Kammarokester, Kings Place, 18 April 2015, part of the Minimalism Unwrapped season)

Philip Glass: String Quartets (Carducci Quartet, Kings Place, 16 April 2015, part of the Minimalism Unwrapped season)

Metal Wood Skin: The Colin Currie Percussion Festival, notes for four concerts in this major series, Queen Elizabeth Hall, October to December 2014

London Sinfonietta: The Rest is Noise, residency at Singapore International Festival of Arts, 3–7 September 2014 [notes on ten major 20th-century works, from Webern to Adams]

Bright Sheng: Violin Concerto, ‘Let Fly’, UK premiere (Gil Shaham, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo, Barbican Centre, 9 May 2014)

BBC Concert Orchestra with Hawk and a Hacksaw, works by György Ligeti and Béla Bartók, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7 May 2014

Michel van der Aa: Hysteresis, world premiere, and Memo (Mark van de Wiel, London Sinfonietta, Baldur Brönnimann, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 30 April 2014)

Works by David Lang and John Alden Carpenter (BBC Concert Orchestra, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 24 February 2014)

György Kurtág: Játékok (extracts) and Hipartita (György and Márta Kurtág, Hiromi Kikuchi, Queen Elizabeth Hall,1 December 2013, part of the Southbank Centre’s year-long The Rest is Noise festival)

Steve Reich: Music for Eighteen Musicians and other works (Steve Reich and Musicians, Royal Festival Hall, 10 November 2013, part of the Southbank Centre’s year-long The Rest is Noise festival)

Philip Glass: Music in 12 Parts (Philip Glass Ensemble, Royal Festival Hall, 9 November 2013, part of the Southbank Centre’s year-long The Rest is Noise festival)

Stockhausen and Boulez: Modern Masterpieces (Kontakte, Gesang der Jünglinge and Le marteau sans maître, Aurora Orchestra, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 5 October 2013, part of the Southbank Centre’s year-long The Rest is Noise festival)

Peter Eötvös: Violin Concerto ‘DoReMi’, UK premiere (Midori, Philharmoni Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, BBC Proms, 29 August 2013)

Krzysztof Penderecki: Concerto grosso (Arto Noras, Leonard Elschenbroich, Daniel Müller Schott, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit, BBC Proms, 15 August 2013)

Witold Lutosławski: Mini Ouverture, Fanfare for CUBE, Partita, Epitaph, Subito, Grave. Metamorphoses, Dance Preludes (RCM performers, RCM, 6 March 2013; part of the Philharmonia’s series Woven Words “Music begins where words end” for the Lutosławski Centenary)

‘The Steve Reich Meme’, booklet essay for the world premiere of Reich’s Radio Rewrite (London Sinfonietta, Royal Festival Hall, 5 March 2013, and on tour)

Piano music by Chopin, Debussy, Lutosławski, Szymanowski and Ligeti (RCM performers, RCM, 27 February 2013; part of the Philharmonia’s series Woven Words “Music begins where words end” for the Lutosławski Centenary)

String quartets by Szymanowski, Ligeti, Lutosławski and Roussel (RCM performers, Purcell Room, 4 February 2013; part of the Philharmonia’s series Woven Words “Music begins where words end” for the Lutosławski Centenary)

Grażyna Bacewicz: Concerto for String Orchestra (BBC Scottish SO, 25 and 26 October 2012)

Witold Lutosławski: Symphony no.3 (Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Proms, 31 August 2012)

Kronos Quartet (BBC Proms, 24 July 2012) [notes on Johnston’s String Quartet no.4; Omar Souleyman: I’ll Prevent the Hunters from Hunting You; trad.: A Thousand Thoughts]

György Ligeti: Double Concerto, MelodienSan Francisco PolyphonyHamburg Concerto (Southbank Centre, London Sinfonietta and Philharmonia, 12 and 13 May 2012)

London Sinfonietta and Arditti Quartet: Impossible Brilliance: The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (Southbank Centre, 21 and 22 April 2012) [notes for two concerts in the Southbank’s weekend-long festival of Nancarrow’s music]

Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens (Barbican Centre, 9 April 2012)

Missy Mazzoli: Violent, Violent Sea; Nico Muhly: Cello Concerto; Owen Pallett: Violin Concerto (Barbican Centre, Britten Sinfonia, 16 March 2012)

Kronos Quartet: Awakenings (Barbican Centre, 21–27 January 2012) [Introduction and notes for three concerts as part of Kronos’s week-long Barbican residency]

György Kurtág: …concertante… (BBC SO, 16 December 2011)

Thomas Larcher: Double Concerto (BBC Proms, BBC Scottish SO, 18 August 2011)

Total Immersion: Peter Eötvös (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, BBC SO, 14 May 2011) [complete notes for one-day festival of Eötvös’s music, including Paris-Dakar, Psalm 151, Derwischtanz, Sonata per sei, Levitation, Psychokosmos, zeroPoints, IMA and introductory essay ‘Music’s Magic Realist’]

‘Popularizing the Process’, booklet essay for Steve Reich: Reverberations (Barbican Centre, 7–8 May 2011)

Toru Takemitsu: Requiem for Strings (BBC SO, 4 March 2011)

Thomas Larcher: Violin Concerto (BBC SO, 4 March 2011)

Michel van der Aa: Up-Close (Sol Gabetta, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, 2011)

James Dillon: La Navette (BBC Scottish SO, BBC Proms, 19 August 2010)

György Ligeti: Ejszaka, Reggel and Lux aeterna (Danish National Concert Choir, BBC Proms, 11 August 2010)

John Adams: Doctor Atomic Symphony (London Philharmonic, Royal Festival Hall, 3 July 2010)


Eve Egoyan: Maria de Alvear: de puro amor, en amor duro (forthcoming) 

Claudia Racovicean: On a Clear Day (Coviello, COV91611, 2016)

Yuki Numata Resnick: For Ko (innova 951, 2016) [works by Bach, Caleb Burhans, Clara Iannotta, Matt Marks, Andrew Greenwald]

Simon Smith: Valentin Silvestrov: Piano Sonatas (Delphian DCD34151, 2015)

Clara Iannotta: A Failed Entertainment (Edition RZ 10023, 2015)

Hafliði Hallgrímsson: Choral Works (Resonus Classics, RES10117, 2013)

Barbara Lüneberg: Beyond (Coviello, COV61302, 2013) [Bach, Partita in D minor; Scelsi L’âme ailée, L’âme ouverte, Xnoybis; note co-written with Lüneberg]

Michel van der Aa: Up-close (Disquiet, DQM04, 2011)

Ian Wilson: In Shadows (Riverrun, RVRCD82, 2011)

ELISION: strange forces (HCR03CD, 2010) [works by Richard Barrett, Aaron Cassidy, Klaus K. Hübler, Evan Johnson, Liza Lim and Timothy McCormack]

ELISION: transference (HCR02CD, 2010) [works by Mary Bellamy, Aaron Cassidy, Bryn Harrison and Liza Lim]

Ian Wilson: Winter finding, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (RTÉ CD126, 2010)

Ian Wilson: Sullen earth (Riverrun RVRCD80, 2009)

Ian Wilson: Veer: String Quartets, The Callino Quartet (Riverrun RVRCD77, 2007)

Profiles, biographies and other blurbs

Bryce Dessner: Mountains and Waves, preview of Barbican weekend for events brochure, May 2014

Bright Sheng, profile for BBC Symphony Orchestra concert, 9 May 2014

John Alden Carpenter, profile for BBC Concert Orchestra concert, 24 February 2014

David Lang, profile for BBC Concert Orchestra concert, 24 February 2014

György Kurtág, biography for The Rest is Noise festival, Southbank, 1 December 2013

Steve Reich, biography for The Rest is Noise festival, Southbank, 10 November 2013

Philip Glass, biography for The Rest is Noise festival, Southbank, 9 November 2013

Karlheinz Stockhausen, biography for The Rest is Noise festival, Southbank, 5 October 2013

Pierre Boulez, biography for The Rest is Noise festival, Southbank, 5 October 2013

Anna Clyne, profile for BBC Last Night of the Proms, 7 September 2013

Andrzej Panufnik, biography for BBC Proms, 23 August 2013

Krzysztof Penderecki, biography for BBC Proms, 15 August 2013

Witold Lutosławski, biography for Berlin Philharmonic concert, BBC Proms, 31 August 2012

Ben Johnston, biography for Kronos Quartet concert, BBC Proms, 24 July 2012

George Benjamin, introductory notes for George Benjamin: Jubilation, Southbank Centre, 12 and 13 May 2012

‘Birthday Bashes’, feature on ensemblebash and CHROMA for Kings Place listing magazine (January–March 2012)

‘Solo in a Crowd’, feature on Christophe Desjardins and Stephane Ginsburgh for Kings Place (September 2011)

Thomas Larcher, biography for BBC SO concert, 4 March 2011

‘Mission Impossible Made to Measure’, profile of ELISION for Kings Place listing magazine (June 2010)