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.

Monday, March 02, 2009
Erland von Koch passes

Erland von Koch has passed away.

He belonged to the circle of composers that debuted during the 1930s. Others in this group were Lars-Erik Larsson and Gunnar de Frumerie. The composer Erland von Koch was 98 years old, and one of the foremost Swedish composers of the 20th century.

Erland von Koch received his diploma as an organist and cantor from the Music Conservatory in Stockholm in 1935. He spent the following years studying composition, conducting, and piano in Germany and France. After a couple of years at the Swedish Radio, he worked as a teacher of music theory at the conservatory in Stockholm from 1953-1975. He became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1957, and was named a Professor in 1968. Among his awards were the Royal Swedish Academy of Music's medal for contributions to music in 2000.

He was a versatile composer and wrote five symphonies, 12 Scandinavian dances, the Impusli and Oxberg trilogies, 12 concerti for solo instruments, numerous solo works, string quartets, the children's opera Pelle Svanslös, five ballets, songs, psalms, and film music (among other things, he wrote the music for one of Ingmar Bergman's early films).

"I strive for a simple, clear melodic style, preferably associated with folk music, and with a clear-cut rhythmic profile. I want my harmony to be uncomplicated," he said about his own composing. Erland von Koch passed away at the end of January, three months before his 99th birthday.