Alex Stephenson (b. 1990, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) is a composer currently based in Southern California. His music stems from a deep-rooted lyrical impulse and a desire to engage in dialogue with other forms of artistic expression and aspects of human experience. He has created work in a variety of acoustic, electroacoustic, and interdisciplinary contexts and seeks out forms that give rise to a sense of uncanny logic and urgent communication.
Alex has been a composition fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Académie Voix Nouvelles at Royaumont, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. He has had work programmed and/or commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Fondation Royaumont, the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Civitas Ensemble and, as a result of receiving the Brian M. Israel Prize, the Society for New Music, among many others. He has also been an artist-in-residence at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute and Marble House Project.
Recent performance highlights include the premiere of Heel, Skull, an evening-length dance work with electroacoustic sound created in collaboration with choreographer and director Marcos Duran, at UC San Diego. In summer 2018, Rebecca Printz and the New Fromm Players performed calling, crying for mezzo-soprano and string quartet at Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, and the Ensemble Voix Nouvelles under conductor Pierre-André Valade premiered The Sound of the Land for soprano and ensemble at Royaumont Abbey, which had commissioned the work following Alex’s composition fellowship there in 2017. Previously, Wei-Han Wu and Dimitris Paganos Koukakis presented Jeu-Parti for piano and electronics at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and the California Electronic Music Exchange Concerts, respectively, and Jennifer Beattie and the Argus Quartet premiered calling, crying at New Music on the Point.
In autumn 2018, Jonathan Nussman, Steven Schick, and other members of the UC San Diego performance community will give the first performance of The Same Wind for baritone, ensemble, and electronics, and in summer 2019, the FLUX Quartet will premiere a new string quartet commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
After earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, Alex studied composition on a Fulbright scholarship with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. He completed a master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he worked primarily with Oliver Schneller and Robert Morris, and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of California San Diego, where his principal advisor is Rand Steiger.