Alan Theisen (b. 4 October 1981; Port Huron, Michigan) is a Ph.D. graduate assistant in the Department of Music Theory at the Florida State University.

Composing since the age of sixteen, he has produced a steadily growing body of work distinguished by its musical energy and concentration of expression.

Representative works by Theisen include a Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Variations on a Theme of Gretchaninov, Eclogue for flute, and the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra (premiered by soloist Lawrence Gwozdz and the Szczecin Philharmonic in 2004). Recent compositions and commissions include Ritorno for flute and cello and a Triple Concerto. Noted composer Dimitri Terzakis commends Theisen's oeuvre as being "the product of a unique talent."

As a saxophonist, Theisen has toured the United States and Canada with the Sax-Chamber Orchestra, performing at two World Saxophone Congresses (Montreal - 2000, Minneapolis - 2003). He studied the instrument with internationally-recognized performer Lawrence Gwozdz and participated in masterclasses with famed saxophone pioneer Jean-Marie Londeix. No stranger to the podium, Theisen has been a guest conductor with several ensembles.

In an effort to showcase both his own original compositions and pieces by other contemporary composers, he founded the Intégrales New Music Festival in 2005. Now an annual event, Intégrales NMF features world-premiere performances by nationally recognized musicians. Intégrales has expanded to include musical collaborations with artists, authors, and dancers. Theisen wrote his undergraduate thesis on György Ligeti's Piano Etudes, and has authored several papers on topics including Elliott Carter, film editing, composition as analysis, and Michael Brecker.

Other interests include mathematics, film criticism, and philosophy; in addition, Theisen has performed the role of Oberon in a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, for which he also wrote the incidental music.

Theisen lives with his wife (and puts up with their two cats) in Tallahassee, Florida.

Friday, January 06, 2006
From Slatkin...

I read this in a fantastic interview with Leonard Slatkin on; I find the message compelling:

"There's a comedian, a political commentator named Louis Black. He said something once that resonated with me, although I'm sure he didn't intend it in quite the way I took it. He did a routine, which he does every year, where he takes apart the Super Bowl halftime show, in particular from the point when MTV started producing it. He basically said that many people associate a song or a piece of music with a wonderful event. It might be a life partner, or something in nature, who knows. Those works have special significance. So he said, "If you hear a song and its significance is only reflected by the music video which you saw, you should kill yourself!" Because it means that you've been brainwashed. Not that videos aren't fine. But instead of letting the music take you to that special, unique place that only you can occupy, you've been taken someplace by someone else. You're a part of somebody else's vision. That's the crux of one of the problems of today's society. I'm not a social commentator, but I see a distinct problem coming unless we really find a way to trigger young people's imaginations. And the best way to do it is through music and the arts."