Warner in the 1950s


Photos of Warner by others

Photos by Warner in the 1950s

'Warner Remembers' excerpt - Warner speaking about his early photography with a slideshow of his photos


SNOW ROOM by Warner Jepson (mp3 - 3:03) A child, falling sleep, imagines that the snow falling in the night outside is also falling inside his room from 1950 . I was twenty. WJ

Writing about the 1950s

Helen and I
San Francisco’s Burning 

In 1959 the San Francisco Playhouse, one of three little theaters existing in San Francisco, produced a review, THE RITES OF WOMEN, made up of skits by James Broughton, poet, and Ann Halprin, dancer...

Helen Adam Reader


Articles, Programs, Reviews 1950s

Warner's autobiography about the1950s


1948: I apply to enter Harvard, but my college boards weren’t enough, I applied to  Oberlin Conservatory of Music and, with my older sister, Jean, bussed in took bus to Ohio to July apply.  There in June for the successful audition.  Older sister, Jean, in July took bus to Ohio to apply. As mom had sold our home I remained on campus 365 days for 5 years. Not qualified to be composition maj., started as piano maj. and harp min; later changed min. to harpsichord. As a sophomore, I passed the test to start composition, but the teacher and I gave up after a few months. In my junior year I became composition maj.; late start meant staying an extra year and summer school. At Oberlin I spent as much time improvising as practicing.

1952: Took a European Seminar tour from England to Egypt, led by Dr. Louis Lord, head of the American School in Athens, with other professors.

1953: I graduate in August; apply to U. of Southern California masters program to study movie scoring; drive to San Francisco, arrive Sep 7 Labor Day mid-.afternoon a few days later receive letter of acceptance from U.S.C. but, while packing, change mind; decide to stay in S.F!

1953 Letter Sally Houston

1956 or 57, Damuar page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page5: Music Director, Cellar Stage, Washington St. San Francisco

In S.F. I decided, unwisely I've always thought, not to accept my acceptance into U.S.C. to study movie music, and began improvising for modern dance classes where I met Doris Dennison, a friend of Merce and Cage. Helping her accompany dances of Welland Lathrop and Ann Halprin I'd watch her dip a gong in water for a new sound. At Ann's home there was a work room with a tape recorder and things to make sounds. I began to record them, and enjoyed changing reality by reversing, splicing, making short and long loops of the sounds, and changing speeds of the tape. [A few years out of the stricture/structure of Oberlin, finding composing had become difficult, I took up photography to "play" unfettered again, and liked the reality altering by cropping, framing, and getting close.] This music concrete' work led to my first tape music piece, "The Branch."

1958 Welland Lathrop Dance School :Accompanist

1958 Dec. 13 Sat "The Branch" Ann Halprin Dance Co. "...This was the first local dance recital, at least to my knowledge, in which most of the accompaniment was provided by tape-recorded music. In one case, the "Duo," music by Pieter van Deusen, the music overwhelmed the dance. In others, notably the intensely lyrical nature-piece called "The Branch, " music by Warner Jepson, and the amorphous, spacey-haunted "Flight," music again by Van Deusen, sound and action complemented each other superbly."

This was my first tape piece and my first use of recorded sounds described as music concrete. They were simply sounds found around Ann Halprin's basement of drawers opened, bamboo shaker/sticks, and other nondescript sounds that the reel-to-reel tape recorder enabled one to make into new and mysterious atmospheres and rhythms.

1959 Sep 13 Sun "VISIO"; 707 Scott St. a series of visual experiences in motion in conjunction with improvised music: Light show: Paul Beattie; musicians: Bill Spencer, Warner Jepson

Paul and Bill were friends of Elias Romero who was newly returned from L.A. where he'd done light-shows in a jazz club. He was the first exponent of the medium in S.F., I believe, teaching it to Tony Martin at the San Francisco Tape Center before Tony took it to the Fillmore rock concerts.

Paul, Bill and I, and dancers from Ann's classes would get together a Sunday evening, often at Wellend's studio, 1831 Union St. Simone Morris [later Forte], Robert's wife, who was an outstanding improviser with Ann, and Robert Morris himself would be movers. Robert began to bring "things" to use, which were the beginnings of his conceptual pieces. [He gave me one for my birthday which I later dismantled! when I didn't know what to do with it. But then I destroyed a construction of my own that was in a SF Museum sculpture annual.]