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Dr Alan Shockley

Composition and Theory

University of California, Long Beach



Composer Alan Shockley holds a PhD from Princeton University. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center, Italy’s Centro Studi Ligure, and France’s Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre (CAMAC), among others, and he has received grants from the American Music Center, Pittsburgh ProArts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Heinz Foundation.

His works have garnered performances by the Nash Ensemble of London, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, the Ives Quartet, Talujon Percussion, the Azure Ensemble, the What’s Next? Ensemble, the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, NOW Ensemble, soprano Susan Narucki, marimbists Nancy Zeltsman and Laura Jordan, electric guitarists Steven Mackey and Colin McAllister, contrabassist Bertram Turetzky, and many others.

In recent years, Alan has written works for such renowned performers as pianists Vicki Ray, Guy Livingston, and Mark Robson, violinists Ken Aiso and Roger Zahab, cellists Zoë Martlew and Craig Hultgren, and for shakuhachi virtuoso Kojiro Umezaki of the Silk Road Ensemble, just to name a few. Recent commissions include ones from flutist John Barcellona, Sound of Late, and the California E.A.R. Unit.

A dedicated scholar and educator, Alan is currently the Director of Composition and Theory and an Associate Professor in the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. His essays on and reviews of contemporary music and on intersections between music and modernist fiction can be found in journals and collections published by several leading presses, and his book Music in the Words: Musical Form and Counterpoint in the Twentieth-Century Novel was released in 2009.  His new in-depth study of nontraditional techniques for piano, The Contemporary Piano: A Performer and Composer’s Guide to Techniques and Resources, will be published in the second quarter of 2018.