Composer- Film Maker and Member of Xenharmonikon’s Advisor Board
By Stephen Altoft
Donald Bousted was active in the field of microtonal music as a composer, as a film maker and as an artistic director. I don’t know many people who have been so productive in the arts as Don. He worked very hard, he was very serious about art and music, and he was very determined to achieve high standards in these fields.
With Kathryn Bennetts and Peter Bowman he expanded the recorder repertoire hugely, resulting in The Quarter-Tone Recorder Manual (Moeck) and culminating in A Journey Among Travellers. My 23 year ‘The Microtonal Trumpet’ project with him includes a pdf book, ‘The Microtonal Trumpet’ , 24 supporting pedagogical Studies, and culminated in his 57 minute composition entitled, 19.5, a work in 19 divisions of the octave, commissioned by duo Contour (Stephen Altoft, trumpet and Lee Ferguson, percussion). He also wrote specific microtonal works for horn, saxophone, guitar, bassoon, accordion.
He composed music using quarter- and eighth-tones, in just intonation, a substantial body of work in 19-divison tuning (19 pitches per octave), 72-div as well as polymicrotonal pieces.
Donald was the founder and Artistic Director of Microtonal Projects. He directed the UKMicroFest and EUROMicroFest: performance-focused events which also offered an opportunity for composers, theorists and instrument builders to talk about their work.
In attempting to introduce microtonal music to a wider audience he curated mixed media events which included ‘Wild Dog’ and, in 2010, a Late at Tate (Microtonal) at Tate Britain in London. These events featured microtonal music alongside live art, film, dance and mixed media, and attracted audiences and participants from all over the world. Donald created the opportunity for excellent networking in an informal atmosphere: many projects and collaborations have resulted from these meetings. We will try to continue what he started, always with him in our hearts and mind, remembering his vision, energy and determination, and, in his own words, ’just getting on with it’.