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Joe Maneri

In 1958 Joe finished ten years of study with Joseph Schmid, a student of Alban Berg, completing Schoenberg's harmony, counterpoint and composition courses. Joe went on to teach harmony, 16th century counterpoint and composition at the Brooklyn Conservatory while continuing to compose and in 1963 was commissioned by Erich Leinsdorf of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to write a piano concerto. It was premiered in 1985 by the American Composers Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall. As a soloist in the 50's and early 60's he performed Greek, Syrian, Jewish and Turkish music on clarinet and saxophone as well as pop music of the day. In 1965, his reputation as a diverse performer led to an invitation to be the saxophone soloist in the premiere of a composition by David Reck dedicated to Ornette Coleman. Joe premiered the piece as part of the 20th Century Innovation Series conducted by Gunther Schuller at Carnegie Hall.

Also in 1965, encouraged by his friend and drummer Peter Dolger, Joe recorded an album with drums, bass, piano, clarinet & saxophone. His written tunes and subsequent improvisations contained elements of jazz, Greek melodies and rhythms, and twelve-tone compositional ideas. The album was recorded for Atlantic but remained unreleased until 1996, when John Zorn heard it and enthusiastically issued it on his Avant Label under the title "Paniot's Nine". Paniot pays homage to Joe's friend who inspired the making of this record.

In 1970 Joe became a faculty member at the New England Conservatory, teaching harmony, counterpoint, composition, saxophone, improvisation and later microtonal theory and composition. He served as president of Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society at the Conservatory and co-founded the Enchanted Circle Series with James Hoffman. For over thirty years, this performance series produced up to seven concerts a year dedicated to presenting new music, especially the music of New England Conservatory recent alumni.

Joe became interested in microtones early on; he began using them in compositions in 1970. In 1979 Joe started a microtonal theory and composition course at the New England Conservatory. Students in Joe's microtonal class learn to hear, sing, play and write in 72-note equal temperament, using as their text Preliminary Studies in the Virtual Pitch Continuum, co-authored by Joe and Scott Van Duyne. This class, unique in the United States, became a smashing success, with a national reputation and frequently overflowing enrollment. Many of Joe's students have gone on to international careers as performers, composers, and educators in all fields of music. Joe has created charts with alternative saxophone and clarinet fingerings and he encourages other instrumentalists to find fingerings and write charts as well. He has lectured on microtonal composition at institutions such as NYU, Harvard University, and in Salzburg at the Mozarteum. He also invented a 5-octave, 72-note-to-the-octave electronic keyboard which he has used in performance and in class. It was displayed at the Boston Museum of Science in 1990.

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Album Review
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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Kedar Entertainment Group


Peace Concert

Kedar Entertainment Group


Coming Down the...

Hat Hut Records


Angles of Repose

ECM Records


Angles Of Repose

ECM Records


Going To Church

AUM Fidelity




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