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Let’s Make Some Noise

Alex Headphone shot 2017

Ready to make some noise in 2018? LET’S DO THIS.

Although I’m still in Composer Lockdown™ for a few more weeks, I wanted to pop my head up to say Happy 2018! I look forward to sharing much newness with you soon.



Still Listening (RIP Pauline Oliveros)

Nudged out of hiding by news of the wise and wonderful Pauline Oliveros‘ passing. She was an important mentor for me, and just a couple weeks ago I had her Deep Listening album on repeat, which greatly soothed my pre-election jitters. This morning over coffee I opened up her book Sounding the Margins, and as it turns out, the first page I turned to was exactly what I needed to read. I posted a quote with a short remembrance to Facebook, and wanted to include it here as well:

“If you are a composer, give priority to community building over career building. Find ways to collaborate, serve the field and make it good for your colleagues as well as yourself. Question your relationship to the form of music you are writing. Are you listening to your own inner voice and answering it’s call? Are you expressing what you need to express or what you have been taught to express by the canon of men’s musical establishment? Of what value is the technique and form you have learned to the expression of what you feel and hear as your own voice in music? How would you like for your music to function in your community? In the world?”

— Pauline Oliveros, “Sounding the Margins”

Pauline was a guiding force for me when I was realizing I wanted to devote my life to music. Between my sophomore and junior years at Vassar, I took a year off, and worked at Harvestworks in NYC. During that time, Pauline would come in for recording sessions, often with Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis, and I was able to be in the studio helping out. Those sessions were always so full of laughter and outright silliness as well as beautiful sounds, and I thought, this is such a wonderful way to make music!

A little later during my senior year in college, I worked as an intern for her foundation, driving to Kingston a couple times per week to perform whatever tasks needed doing. One day I was trying to print up a score, and the printer was being finicky and I was getting frustrated. I was just about to let it go and call it a day, when Pauline said (with great force), “ALEX! YOU MUST *NEVER* GIVE UP!” And together we worked to fix the problem and print that score. We both knew that her words were intended for more than that moment.

If ever I feel exhausted and/or doubtful about my musical life, I hear her voice saying not to give up. Happily, she also taught me how to listen.

Much love to you, dear Pauline. <3



New Music Gathering

New Music Gathering logo

I think I’ve finally recovered from New Music Gathering 2016! In addition to hearing a ton of music and meeting practically my entire Facebook wall face-to-face, I moderated a panel of artists working outside of academia, enjoyed a beautiful performance of Bloom for cello & electronics by Peter Kibbe, and had breakfast with a bondage artist (we go way back), who slipped me a copy of his new piano etudes. Now THAT is a conference!

Thanks to the many who worked so hard to make #NMG2016 happen – it was a BLAST!

Peter Kibbe performing Bloom

Cellist Peter Kibbe performing Bloom



The 2016 Plan

2016 Plan

Wishing everyone a joyful, prosperous, creative New Year!



Perseids at LSU


Greetings from Baton Rouge! I just arrived for a three-day composer residency at Louisiana State University, which will culminate in an all-premiere wind ensemble concert that includes my new piece Perseids, as well as works by Steve Mackey, David T. Little and Dan Visconti. Also in the house will be Third Coast Percussion, so I think this is going to be pretty fun!

I am especially looking forward to this week because Perseids has been a looooong time coming. The LSU director of bands Damon Talley and I started talking about this project in 2011, when he was working at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. Sometimes life gets in the way of musical projects (in my case it absolutely did) so I’m extra pleased that this piece is finally happening! And because it’s a consortium commission organized by Damon, there will be multiple performances at several different universities. From a composer’s perspective, this situation is basically heaven on earth.

Now I just hope that some other brave souls will let me make another one of these things soon, before all of the instrument transpositions fly out of my head!



Julian Elvíra performs Juniper

Pronomos NYC

My friend, the amazing flutist Julian Elvíra has come all the way from Madrid with a specially-engineered flute that apparently does all kinds of magical things! He’s been talking it up for ages, and I can’t wait to hear it. In addition to works written especially for him and La Flauta Prónomo, he will be performing my piece Juniper. See you there, NYC!



New Album Release!


My dear friends of the SOLI Chamber Ensemble have been working on this album for a loooooong time, and it is finally out & about in the world! I’m thrilled that they have included on this disc my composition Crows, which they commissioned many moons ago. Also featured are also works by Timothy Kramer, Robert Xavier Rodriguez, and David Heuser. You can hear a stupendously good live performance of my piece by clicking on the title above, and this album recording sounds like solid gold candy bars!

It’s available in all the usual spots: iTunes and Amazon, or you can order a copy directly from Albany Records. Thanks for listening!



Issue Project Room Performance 3/26

Issue Project Room

Excited for Wednesday’s performance at Issue Project Room! My co-conspirators will be Patricia Spencer performing New Skin for alto flute & electronics, and Evelyn Farny performing Bloom for cello & electronics. They are both amazing performers. I will be “checking email” on my laptop as usual.

There will be additional wonderful sounds performed by Chris Brown, Suzanne Thorpe, and the Nate Wooley Trio.

It’s been a long time, and I would love to see you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 – 8:00 p.m.
ISSUE Project Room
22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn 11201
$15 / $12 members + students



New Recording: Mint Conditioner

Bassist Logan Coale

Logan Coale, Jesse Lewis and I had a blast recording a new version of Mint Conditioner for double bass and electronics!

Would you like to hear it?



New Recording: Juniper

Among my holiday treats this year appeared a recording from the premiere (last JULY) of my solo shakuhachi piece Juniper, performed by Kiku Day. I so wish I could have attended the concert in Barcelona to meet her. Apparently the universe has charged me with the task of writing for a number of unfamiliar (to me) instruments over the past couple of years, and honestly, I think shakuhachi has been the most challenging! Many thanks to Elizabeth Brown for checking my work, and to my dear friend (and one of the best composers out there) Ramon Humet for commissioning the piece!

Have a listen here!



Happy New Year!

34th Street Snowman

Wishing a peaceful, joy-filled, and creative 2014 to all!



Rhymes With Opera Selling Out Fast!

Rhymes With Opera

I’m excited to hear Rhymes With Opera do their thing in Brooklyn tomorrow, and in Baltimore on Saturday! Twelve brand new, specially-commissioned one-minute operas (one of which I wrote—so fun!) will be performed back-to-back, and also on the bill is a full-blown production of my good friend David Smooke‘s “nonopera” Criminal Element.

The Brooklyn show is sold out, and there are just a few seats left for the Baltimore performance.