Our regular listen to and look at living, breathing composers and performers that you may not know yet, but I know you should… And can, right here and now, since they’re nice enough to offer so much good listening online:
Alex Temple (b. 1983 — US)
I started composing when I was 11, on a family trip to Italy. My earliest influence was Bach, and after that, Hindemith, Prokofiev and Bartók. When I was 15 I discovered rock (by means of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am The Walrus”), and when I was 17 I discovered the experimental rock underground (by means of The Olivia Tremor Control, Kukl, Mr. Bungle and Thinking Plague). Those two discoveries got me interested in combining ideas from the scored-music world and ideas from the rock world, and since then I’ve been exploring various ways of bringing disparate materials together — not just rock and scored music, but really anything. I got my BA at Yale in 2005, and am currently working towards my MA at the University of Michigan, where I’m studying with Erik Santos.
Alex’s work is bright and fun, even in the slightly darker moments. There’s a kind of stream-of-consciousness to his music, where every few phrases may call up another style or bit of the past. Like listening to an excellent after-hours lounge pianist wandering through whatever flits through their mind, it all hangs together; just go along for the ride you’ll do fine.
Lainie Fefferman (US)
Lainie and Alex were at Yale together, and they share a lot of the same anything-goes spirit. She received her BA in music from Yale in 2004, studying with John Halle, Matthew Suttor, and Kathryn Alexander. She also snagged a second BA in Near-Eastern languages and civilizations, specializing in the religious chant traditions of the middle east. She studied Torah cantillation with Rebecca Boggs and Quranic chanting with Dr. Abd al Hamid. If I’ve got it right, she’s currently teaching at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn.
Lainie’s music has a bit more of the purely “classical” focus, though that can just as easily mean the chromatic line or a bit of minimalist burble. Like Alex, there’s no problem as well if electric guitar, drum kit or laptop drop by. The musical play comes with some high concepts as underpinning — not surprising when your dad (Charles Fefferman) is one of the country’s most renowned mathematicians — but those concepts get out of the way once the music starts.