I have just found out through a mentor of mine that American composer James Tenney has died. Tenney proved to be one of the most under-recognised though important composers of the latter half of the twentieth century, as both a pioneer of both experimental and electronic music. Tenney's studies into psychoacoustics and the observation of sound phenomenology were at the core of his work - a synergy of artistic and scientific thought. His Masters thesis Meta/Hodos,which I finished reading around the time of his death in August, remains one of the most groundbreaking books on music theory of the last century. I have to admit I only became aware of Tenney and his work over the past year through Alvin Lucier - a close friend and contemporary of Tenney's for over forty years. I am deeply saddened by the news of Tenney's passing. He typified a credo synonomous with composers and artists whom I hold the greatest level of respect for - to challenge artistic and philosophical conventions, whilst encouraging new observations, thought and commentary. Though there is something rarer and more precious about Tenney's work. Just like the work of Lucier, Tenney conveyed his art with with the most elegant degree of articulation and beauty, conceptual and scientific theories became secondary in the wake of observing or imagining a natural phenomena, like ripples in a stream or how the wind shapes a mountain.
Kyle Gann has written an excellent obituary on his blog. You can read it here