Ben Johnston (1926-2019) was born in Macon, Georgia. He studied with Harry Partch, Darius Milhaud, and John Cage and taught composition and theory at the University of Illinois from 1951 to 1983. Johnston is a pioneer of microtonally extended just intonation composed for acoustic instruments. Works include Quintet for Groups, Sonnets of Desolation, Carmilla, Sonata for Microtonal Piano, and Suite for Microtonal Piano, and ten string quartets. All ten quartets have been released in a series of three recordings by the Kepler Quartet (New World Recordings). His Quintet for Groups was awarded the SWR Orchestra prize at the 2008 Donaueschinger Musiktage.