Jonathan D. Kramer

(b. 7 December 1942, Hartford, Connecticut – d. 2 June 2004, New York, New York).

American composer of mostly orchestral and chamber works that have been performed in the Americas, Asia and Europe; he was also active as a writer.

Prof. Kramer studied with Pierre Boulez, Leon Kirchner and Billy Jim Layton at Harvard University, where he earned his BA in 1965. He then had postgraduate studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the University of California, Davis in 1966–67 and with Jean-Claude Éloy, Richard Felciano, Andrew Imbrie, Roger Sessions, and Seymour Shifrin at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his MA in 1967 and his PhD in 1969. He also studied computer music with John Chowning at Stanford University in 1967–68.

As a writer, his articles appeared in numerous books and journals. His books are Listen to the Music (1988; published in the UK as Listening to Music, 1991; translated as Invitación a la música, 1993) and The Time of Music (1988). He later edited the volume Time in Contemporary Musical Thought (1993, Contemporary Music Review) and left an unfinished book on music and postmodernism (2002–04). He served as programme annotator for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra from 1967–70, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1980–2004, the National Orchestral Association from 1989–92, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1992–93.

He taught at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969–70, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio in 1970–71, Yale University from 1971–78, the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music from 1978–90, and Columbia University from 1988–2004.


E-mail address (c/o his widow Deborah Bradley-Kramer):



For Broken Piano, Truck, Shaving Cream, Fruit Salad, Toilet, Wife, San Francisco, Color TV, and, fixed media, slide projections, 1969–70

Blue Music, actor, fixed media, 1970–72

An Imaginary Dance, fixed media, slide projections, 1970–73

Irrealities, 2 dancers, fixed media, slide projections, 1970–73

Fanfare, 2 actors, fixed media, 1973–76

En noir et blanc, actor, dancer, piano (2 players), 1988


Variations, symphonic band, 1967–69

Requiem for the Innocent, 1970

Moving Music, 13 clarinets, 1975–76

Moments in and out of Time, 1981–83

Musica pro Musica, 1986–87

About Face, 1988–89

Remembrance of a People, speaker ad libitum, piano, string orchestra, 1996 (version of chamber work)

Rewind, 2000

Obsessions, symphonic band, 2001


Three Pieces, clarinet, 1965–66

Septet, flute, oboe, bassoon, harp, violin, viola, cello, 1968

One for Five in Seven, Mostly, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1971

The Canons of Blackearth, 4 percussion, fixed media, 1972–73

Renascence, clarinet, fixed media, live electronics, 1974 (also versions for clarinet, fixed media, 1977, revised 1985; clarinet, computer, 1997)

Five Studies on Six Notes, guitar, 1978 (version of work for harpsichord; also version for 3 percussion, 1980)

Licks, 3 double basses, 1980–81 (also version for 3 double basses, fixed media, 1980–81)

Atlanta Licks, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1984

Another Anniversary (clarinettist also speaks text by Barney Childs), clarinet, 1989

Another Sunrise, flute, oboe, bassoon, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1990

A Game, cello, piano, 1988–92

Notta Sonata, 2 pianos, 2/3 percussion, 1992–93

Serbelloni Serenade, clarinet, violin, piano, 1995

Remembrance of a People (text by Roger Goodman), speaker ad libitum, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, 1996 (also version for speaker ad libitum, piano, string orchestra)

Surreality Check, violin, cello, piano, 1998

Imbrication, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, 2000

Imagined Ancestors, clarinet, violin, cello, piano 4 hands, 2002–03


No Beginning, No End (text by Peretz Markish [translated by Armand Schwerner]), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1982–83

Into the Labyrinth (text by Molly Myerowitz Levine), mixed chorus, piano, 1985–86


Music for Piano I, 1966

Music for Piano II, 1967

Music for Piano III, 1968

Music for Piano IV, 1969–72

Five Tunes, 1970–78

Music for Piano V, 1979–80

Music for Piano VI, 'Whirled Piece', 1997


Five Studies on Six Notes, 1976–77 (also versions for guitar; 3 percussion)

The Sunrise Sonata, 1984–85