Alex Stephenson (b. 1990, Philadelphia, PA) is a composer, technologist, music theorist, and educator currently based in Southern California. His music—praised as “masterfully orchestrated” and of “sonic beauty” (San Diego Union-Tribune)—stems from a deep-rooted lyrical impulse and seeks to curate sonic contexts that feel simultaneously fresh and familiar. His work spans a variety of media, from acoustic and electroacoustic music, to installations and interdisciplinary collaborations beyond the walls of the concert hall.
Stephenson’s music has been presented at and/or commissioned by the Tanglewood, Royaumont, Santa Fe, Breckenridge, Composers Conference, and New York City Electroacoustic festivals, and other festivals and venues throughout the United States and internationally. In 2021, his work Bloom was selected to represent the USA at the ISCM World New Music Days in Shanghai and Nanning, China. Recent and upcoming collaborators include the Flux Quartet, New Fromm Players, Hausmann Quartet, Steven Schick, Miranda Cuckson, Duo Axis, HOCKET, Ensemble Voix Nouvelles (cond. Pierre-André Valade), Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program (dir. Dawn Upshaw), the Palimpsest ensemble at UC San Diego, and the Society for New Music in Syracuse, among others.
Also active as a music researcher, Stephenson’s article on overtone structures and equal temperament in contemporary music is forthcoming in Music Theory Online, and his work in algorithmic and computer-assisted music-making is available on GitHub.
Stephenson is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California San Diego. A former Fulbright postgraduate scholar at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London), he holds a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago.
- 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 (postponed to March 2022 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)
- Forgotten Song commissioned by the Breckenridge Music Festival (premieres scheduled for August 2020 and 2021 but cancelled due to COVID-19)
- 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: Farshid Bazmandegan