Alex Stephenson

The music of composer Alex Stephenson—praised as “masterfully orchestrated” and exhibiting “sonic beauty” (San Diego Union-Tribune)—stems from a deep-rooted lyrical impulse, evoking sonic worlds that feel simultaneously fresh and familiar. He works in a variety of contexts, from acoustic and electroacoustic concert music to sound installations and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Alex’s work has been presented and commissioned by festivals including Tanglewood, Royaumont, ISCM World New Music Days, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Festival, Composers Conference, and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival. Recent and upcoming collaborators include the New Fromm Players, Flux Quartet, Duo Axis, Hausmann Quartet, HOCKET, and the La Jolla Symphony.

In Fall 2022, Alex will join the faculty of Illinois State University as Instructional Assistant Professor of Music Theory & Composition. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California San Diego. 

Recent highlights:

  • Forgotten Song, commissioned by the Breckenridge Music Festival, to be premiered in Breckenridge, Colorado, August 2022
  • Article on overtone structures and politics in contemporary music published in Music Theory Online, Volume 28, no. 2, June 2022 (link)
  • Ph.D. dissertation events at UC San Diego, May 2022: premiere of Chamber Concerto (UC San Diego musicians, cond. Steven Schick), performances of Adrift (Duo Axis) and Three Reflections (Shaoai Ashley Zhang), and first in-person presentation of the sound installation Landscape with Changes (with lighting design by Jessica C. Flores)
  • Reflection featured on HOCKET’s album #What2020SoundsLike, February 2022
  • Three Reflections premiered by Shaoai Ashley Zhang, February 2022
  • Cantus named runner-up in the RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Competition, December 2021
  • Miranda Cuckson’s performance of Soif featured on Score Follower, September 2021 (video)
  • Bloom selected for the 2021 ISCM World New Music Days, Shanghai and Nanning, China (performance postponed due to COVID-19), August 2021 (more info)
  • Landscape with Changes and Music for Car Radios presented live as part of the UC San Diego Department of Music’s “(not quite) Springfest” online event, with original video art by Anqi Liu, April 2021 (more info)
  • Bloom nominated to the World Music Days in China by the League of Composers and the ISCM Miami Chapter, March 2021
  • Bloom wins the Steven R. Gerber Second Prize in the League of Composers/ISCM Composition Competition, November 2020
  • Bloom named a prizewinner in the Hausmann Quartet Quarantine Composers Competition – A 6 feet apart production, November 2020 (more info)
  • Reflection commissioned by HOCKET for the #What2020SoundsLike miniatures project, August 2020 (video premiere, more info)
  • Bloom wins the Charles Ives Music Festival Call for Scores, May 2020 (more info)
  • Bloom named a Merit Award recipient in the Tribeca New Music Young Composer Competition, January 2020 (more info)
  • Cantus commissioned for and premiered at the Conrad Prebys Presidential Chair Concert at UC San Diego, featuring Palimpsest and Steven Schick, January 2020 (review)
  • Bloom commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and premiered by the Flux Quartet, August 2019  (more info)
  • Soif premiered by Miranda Cuckson, May 2019
  • calling, crying performed on the Bard College Conservatory’s “First Songs” programs at National Sawdust, NYC, curated by Dawn Upshaw and Shawn Jaeger, April 2019 (more info)
  • The Sound of the Land commissioned for and premiered at the Festival de Royaumont “Voix Nouvelles” weekend, September 2018 (more info)
  • Composition fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, June-August 2018
  • Finalist designations in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2016, 2018, 2020) and BMI Student Composer Awards (2017)

Photo credit: Wonderstruck Photography