James Tenney was born in 1934 in Silver City, New Mexico, and grew up in Arizona and Colorado, where he received his early training as a pianist and composer. He attended the University of Denver, the Juilliard School of Music, Bennington College (Bachelor’s degree 1958), and the University of Illinois (Master’s degree 1961). His teachers and mentors have included Eduard Steuermann, Chou Wen-Chung, Lionel Nowak, Carl Ruggles, Lejaren Hiller, Kenneth Gaburo, Edgard Varèse, Harry Partch, and John Cage. A performer as well as a composer and theorist, Tenney was co-founder and conductor of the Tone Roads Chamber Ensemble in New York City (1963-70). He was a pioneer in the field of electronic and computer music, working with Max Mathews and others at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the early 1960s to develop programs for computer sound-generation and composition. He has written works for a variety of media, both instrumental and electronic, many of them using alternative tuning systems. Tenney returned to the California Institute of the Arts in the fall of 2000 to take the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition, having taught there at its beginnings in the early 1970s. He has also been on the faculties of at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, the University of California at Santa Cruz and at York University in Toronto where he was named Distinguished Research Professor in 1994.