"Satiesque" was inspired by the evocative music and textural style of Erik Satie's music, but by necessity and perhaps unavoidably, also touches on the spirit of Debussy and Ravel. However, the 21st century twist I wanted to explore was the question of what happens when I use the available harmonic resources of some other tuning system, in this case 46-edo ("46 equal division of the octave", or 46 equally spaced microtones per octave), that has more accurately tuned intervals from the overtone series that constitute the harmonic palette typical of Impressionist and jazz-type harmonies. Not only are these harmonies "purer", but since there are many more notes available, the number of possible paths through this space explode, a feature I also touched upon.
The piece itself is a rather conservative take on form and substance, with the exception of the pitch space used. The intention was to create a wholly agreeable and pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, but one with enough developmental tension and novelty to keep the listener engaged. Hopefully that intention shines through for the average listener.
A multi-faceted pianist, keyboardist, and composer, Aaron Krister Johnson is also the founder and creative/artistic director of UnTwelve, an organization dedicated to the exploration and promotion of the sonic possibilities of new and historical tuning systems and microtonality. His experience ranges from the Western classical keyboard tradition, to folk music and to modern electro-acoustic free improvisation. The Chicago Sun-Times called his composition 'evocative', and his keyboard improvisations have been hailed by Keyboard Magazine as "challenging and creative". His work has been hailed by Chicagocritic.com, the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City Times, and the online music journal Tokafi.com
He has collaborated with the Fine Arts Chamber Players, The Artistic Home, Lyric Opera, Lira Ensemble, Chicago Children's Choir, Kiltartan Road Ensemble, Lakeside Shakespeare, and the International Music Foundation, among others. Other appearances include Chicago Irish Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest, and the Old Town School of Folk music. From 1998-2012, he was the pianist, organist, and choir director at Temple Sholom of Chicago, the largest Reform Jewish congregation in Chicago, and home of a historic 4-manual Wurlitzer organ.
In 2003 he started writing music and designing sound for theatrical productions. His score for The Artistic Home's production of 'Peer Gynt' was nominated for a 2005 Joseph Jefferson award for outstanding original incidental music for a play. Other credits with AH include 'Petrified Forest', 'Clash by Night', 'Madwoman of Chaillot' and 'Natural Affection', and Lakeside Shakespeare of Michigan's productions of 'Twelfth Night' and 'Julius Ceasar'.
His education includes the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory division, SUNY Purchase (BFA Magna Cum Laude) and Northwestern University (MFA Magna Cum Laude) for his graduate studies.