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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Forward to the Future

As of last night, the premiere performance of my Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble has been moved from November 29, 2007 to April 24, 2008.

The lesson I've learned is that it doesn't matter what I believe regarding the difficulty of performing my works, as the actual performers may think and feel just the opposite. In this case, the ensemble needs more time to work on the Saxophone Concerto; as it clocks in at 22 minutes long and has meter changes almost every bar, I can sympathize.

In other news, I continue to work on my Concerto for Viola except I have changed the supporting ensemble from wind band to chamber orchestra. I've sketched a good deal of the viola solo and will have around a 16-minute-long piece when I am finished. I'm shooting for an autumn 2008 performance.

By the end of the year, I should have finished my long-brewing Ritorno for flute, cello, and XXXX. I write "XXXX" since I'm constantly changing the orchestration - first piano, then percussion and piano, now wind quintet and string trio. One of these days I promise to make up my mind.

I have too many ideas and sketches for works and not enough time to sit down and make them actual pieces of music.

I'm organizing a Carter Centennial Celebration here at Florida State for the fall semester of 2008. Anyone interested in playing a piece or giving a little lecture?

I'll be performing my own "Variations on a Theme of Gretchaninov" in the spring. I should re-learn how to play the saxophone, I suppose.

New idea for a work for saxophone, flute, clarinet and cello just came to me - I can merge Klezmer, Brahms, and [014] trichords. Too crazy? Bah! I'll put it in my pile of things I'll never get around to.....