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wed 27 jul 2022 20:00 hour

Keyboard adventurer John Tilbury.

Adventuring and pioneering behind the keyboard… 86-year-old British pianist John Tilbury is a true jack-of-all-trades. He excels in improvisation and is considered a master performer of contemporary music. As a core member of experimental groups like AMM and The Scratch Orchestra, Tilbury discovered the magic of improvised music, contemporary music for the people and graphic scores. Tilbury plays with silence like no other, but also knows how to deal with complex, unrestrained scores. He became known through his many performances of works by Morton Feldman, John Cage and friend Cornelius Cardew.

On this episode of Theme, we highlight some of John Tilbury’s lesser-known performances. You will hear him in interpretations by Terry Jennings, Cornelius Cardew, Dave Smith, and as a member of the Austrian improvisation group Polwechsel. At the heart of it today’s broadcast are Tilbury’s recently released, spectacular performances of early works by Terry Riley, including Keyboard Study No. 2 and Dorian Reeds for electronic organ.



1. Terry Jennings: ‘Piano Piece 1958’ (1958), for piano, on John Tilbury – Lost Daylight. John Tilbury (piano). Another Timbre at10 CD

2. Cornelius Cardew: ‘Boolavogue’ (1981), for two pianos, on Cornelius Cardew – Piano Music. John Tilbury & Andrew Ball (pianos). B&L Classical BLCD011 CD

3-7. Dave Smith: ‘First Piano Concert’ (fivd parts: Ramble, Dub, Mambo, Nocturne and Quasi Tambura) (1985-1986) for piano, on Dave Smith – First Piano Concert. John Tilbury (piano). Matchless Recordings MR14 CD

8. Terry Riley: ’Dorian Reeds’ (1964/1965), for electronic organ, on Terry Riley – Keyboard Studies. John Tilbury (electronic organ). Another Timbre. At193 CD

9. Polwechsel & John Tilbury: ‘Place/ Replace/ Represent’ (by Michael Moser), for ensemble, on Polwechsel abd John Tilbury – Field. Hat Hut records hatOLOGY 672 CD

10. Terry Riley: ’Keyboard Study No. 2’ (1965), for piano, electronic organ, harpsichord and celesta, on Terry Riley – Keyboard Studies. John Tilbury (keys). Another Timbre. At193 CD

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