Society of Fellows

Obituaries

John Eaton, FAAR 1962, RAAR 1975

John Eaton
John Eaton, Concert Program, 1960
Courtesy: AAR Archives
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Composer John Eaton died on December 2, 2015 from complications following a fall. He had recently celebrated his 80th birthday with a concert at Symphony Hall in Manhattan.

William Grimes writes of John Eaton in a New York Times obituary, "Mr. Eaton took an uncompromising stand on his art. Opera, he believed, should make audiences stretch their musical muscles. As a result, most major opera houses shunned his work, which some critics found technically impressive but impenetrable. He found his primary audiences and support in universities and experimental settings."

Both a Fellow and a Resident of the Academy, Eaton is also a Guggenheim Fellow and a MacArthur Fellow. He was a pioneer in electronic music, working with Bob Moog to develop the Eaton-Moog Multi-Touch keyboard. An obituary at Synthtopia contains an interview on Moog history as well as links to other interviews. He was a prolific composer of operas, some of his best known are Herakles (1964), Myshkin (1973), The Cry of Clytemnestra (1979-80), The Tempest (1983-85), Let's Get This Show on the Road (1993), and ...inasmuch (2002). He taught at Indiana University and the University of Chicago where he was Professor Emeritus.