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.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Bach around the clock

The USM Sax-Chamber Orchestra, of which I am a member, finished recording its latest CD yesterday (the process spanned four days). The disc, containing works of none but the great Johann Sebastian Bach, will be released by Romeo Records sometime in May. The recording journey was one of the most difficult musical hurdles I've ever faced. Don't be fooled by the stereotypes of Bach and the saxophone - there will be no swing or jazz version of the Little Fugue in G or such nonsense. We are recording the master's works in Baroque style with a beautiful classical sound concept (I promise a full post on this later). Here are some pictures of us in the recording process ( have to unwind somehow)....

Brian Kauth, alto saxophone (left), and Marc Ballard, soprano saxophone and frequent S21 visitor (with guitar), take a moment to unleash the rock-and-roll demons in Carterville Baptist Church (site of the recording):

I decided to try a goofy experiment - I'd finger the soprano part to Cantata 99 while Marc pushed air through the horn. The results were less than stellar:

One of our baritone players, Jason Edwards, was experiencing some technical difficulties. Here he is attempting some on-the-fly repairs on the ground during a break: