Layton, Billy Jim

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Layton, Billy Jim

Layton, Billy Jim, American composer and teacher; b. Corsicana, Tex., Nov. 14, 1924. He studied at the New England Cons, of Music in Boston with Francis Judd Cook and Carl McKinley (B.Mus., 1948), at Yale Univ. with Quincy Porter (M.Mus., 1950), and at Harvard Univ. with Piston (composition) and Gombosi and Pirrotta (musicology). He obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard with the diss. Italian Music for the Ordinary of the Mass (1960), then was on its faculty (1960–66). In 1966 he was appointed a prof, of music at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Stony Brook. His small output is a finely crafted oeuvre that utilizes various contemporary techniques from free atonality to jazz improvisation.


An American Portrait, symphonic overture (1953); 3 Dylan Thomas Poems for Chorus and Brass Sextet (1954–56); Dante Fantasy for Orch. (1964); chamber music.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire