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, March 06, 2008
More on "Guilty Pleasures"

In reply to a recent blog, I figured I'd spill my own guilty pleasures. (By the way, I love Tom Myron's comment on New York Times classical music critics playing even their guilty pleasures safe - you're the man, Tom!)

Here we go:


I have no guilty pleasures. None.

Don't get me wrong. I used to. But these days, I'm not ashamed at all to discuss the music I love. Not all of it is A-list masterpiece material, but I don't feel any sense of guilt for being enamored with any collection of sounds. Since I'm a little obsessive-compulsive, I cannot escape making a list.

I love Elliott Carter's music - not all of it (frankly, I don't care for the string quartets), but a lot of the later late works get me excited. I like late Boulez. Beck. Stevie Wonder. Brass bands (Youngblood & Rebirth). Sly and the Family Stone. Kurtag. Ligeti. Put on some Air Supply - I'll sing every word of "Even the Nights are Better." Harry Connick, Jr. Berio. Berio. Berio. Billy Joel. Toto. Michael Jackson from the early 80s. Prince - all of 'em. Walter Piston. Ursula Mamlok. I'm in love with Tower of Power. Takemitsu. Stan Kenton. Samuel Barber. Outkast. Radiohead. Ralph Vaughn Williams. Percy Grainger. Phil Collins. Sting. The Pauls (Simon and Creston). Morton Feldman. Steve Reich. Wuorinen. Beethoven, Bernstein, Frank Loesser.

Love 'em all. And that's fine with me. No guilt here.