Biography

David Alpher's compositions are unique, eclectic mixtures of influences including jazz, American folksong, theater music and the classical tradition.

His multimedia work Las Meninas: Variations, inspired by Velázquez and Picasso paintings, has been performed on at least 30 occasions, in such diverse locales as Finland, Spain, Brazil, Zion National Park, and Harvard University. Mr. Alpher's most recent work (2005) is Cantilena for flute and viola, commissioned by a duo in Alaska. Anothert recent work is Ritornello for flute and piano, commissioned by Christiane Meininger and the Duo Sereno and premiered by them in Thalbürgel, Germany in 2002. Also in that year, Mr. Alpher premiered Song of Witness, a chamber piece incorporating ten haiku written by Japanese-Americandetainees in U.S. internment camps during World War II. The Rutland, Vt., performance also featured baritone Christopheren Nomura and the Gainsborough Trio. The work was performed again at Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York City. A 1999 commission came from The Verdehr Trio, the clarinet-violin-piano ensemble committed to originating a literature for this nontraditional instrumental grouping. The trio premiered Pathways, Mr. Alpher's contribution to the new medium, in 2000 at Michigan State University, to an enthusiastic review in American Record Guide. He composed The Field's Edge, a set of five songs to poems by James Wright, on commission from the James Wright Festival at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, California in 1997. In March 2002, The Walrus and the Carpenter, a jazz-influenced setting of the Lewis Carroll poem, and Land of the Farther Suns, an idiosyncratic journey for narrator, four flutes and piano through ten Stephen Crane poems, were finalists in the National Flute Association's Newly Published Music Competition.

On Recordings, American Reflections: David Alpher Chamber Music (Ongaku Records) contains five Alpher works. Land of the Farther Suns is available on the Flute Force CD Eyewitness (Innova), narrated by Garrison Keillor with Alpher at the piano. Many of his compositions have been printed by Brixton Publications, New Boston Editions, Michigan State University Press, and Kripplebush Publishing Co. Mr. Alpher's compositions have been broadcast on WGBH and WBUR, Boston, and WNYC, New York. He is a member of ASCAP.

Outstanding artists and groups who have performed David Alpher's music include Garrison Keillor, Flute Force, Christopheren Nomura, Quartetto Sereno, The Meininger Trio, The Verdehr Trio, the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, An die Musik, Manhattan String Quartet, Das Duo, Nmon Ford, Benjamin Verdery, Janet Packer, Lila Deis, Jonathan Cohler, D'Anna Fortunato, and Douglas Riva.

David Alpher is the Artistic Director of the Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown in New York's Hudson Valley. He also founded and for ten years co-directed the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts, now in its 24th season.

In addition, Mr. Alpher has been prominent as a pianist. On the CD American Dreamer: Songs of Stephen Foster (Angel), he collaborated as pianist and co-arranger with Thomas Hampson, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. This ensemble performed at Tanglewood and at the Great Performers at Lincoln Center series; in a nationally-telecast PBS concert with Marilyn Horne, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley and Harolyn Blackwell; and on German television. He enjoys a lively career as a cabaret artist with his wife, vocalist Jennie Litt; their themed shows range from satiric evenings featuring tuneful and mischievous Alpher/Litt originals, to the songs of Tin Pan Alley and the American Left. From 1985 to 1996, Mr. Alpher was musical director of the Gloucester Stage Company, and from 1975 to 1980, he was musical director of New York's Allnations Dance Company.

A native of Washington, D.C., David Alpher graduated with High Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music in 1968. He studied piano with Menahem Pressler and Jeaneane Dowis, and was a resident fellow at The MacDowell Colony and at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

 

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