Alan Theisen, Musician
Alan Theisen (b. 4 Oct. 1981) is a composer, saxophonist, music theorist, and educator.
Theisen's compositions encompass a wide array of genres and instrumentation including chamber music, art song, solo piano, jazz, concerti, and more. Praised by composer Dimitri Terzakis as being "the product of a unique talent," his works are frequently commissioned by professional chamber musicians and large ensembles alike. Though Theisen's pieces are stylistically diverse, all exhibit unabashed emotional sincerity, memorable melodies, sensitive harmony, and carefully constructed formal designs—characteristics that inspire enthusiastic audience response and repeat performances. Some recent premieres of Theisen's music have occurred at National Sawdust (Brooklyn), New Music Gathering (Peabody Conservatory), and the World Saxophone Congress (Strasbourg, France).
An active saxophonist, Theisen concertizes in classical recitals, performs with jazz bands and musical theater productions, and premieres/records the music of fellow contemporary composers. National appearances as a classical saxophonist include performances at the 39th Festival of New American Music, at the U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium, and as guest recitalist at the Wichita State University New Voices Festival. With mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen, Theisen crafted a program of contemporary music for voice and saxophone entitled This World of Yes that continues to tour and draw audience attention across the United States. To extend his mission as a collaborative performer, he founded and directs two larger ensembles: the Resonance Saxophone Orchestra and the Asheville Modern Big Band.
Theisen also specializes in the analysis and pedagogy of post-1900 classical music, presenting award-winning research on these topics at national and regional academic conferences. He has served on the executive and editorial boards of the South Central Society for Music Theory, Music Theory Southeast, and the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy (online division). Theisen previously taught at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University after receiving his Ph.D. in music theory and composition from Florida State University and degrees (B.M. Music History and M.M. Music Theory) from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is currently working on a book about the late music of Dutch composer Tristan Keuris.
Theisen is associate professor of music at Mars Hill University where he has coordinated the music theory/composition curriculum since 2011.